Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion

Martin Gale

1 1.2


Preface ...................................................................................................................1 The Need for Good Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion ....................................3 Examples of Mixing Problems ...............................................................9 1.2.1 1.2.2 1.2.3 1.2.4 1.2.5 1.2.6 1.2.7 1.2.8 1.2.9 Polyethylene Pipes and Cables...................................................9 Blow Moulded Bottles.............................................................11 Chalk Filled Polypropylene Pipe..............................................12 Blown Film .............................................................................13 Industrial Blow Mouldings......................................................13 Production Scrap Re-use .........................................................13 Agglomerates and Gels in Thin Extrusions ..............................14 Transparent Polycaprolactone/SAN Blends .............................15 Decorative Wood Grain Effects ...............................................15

References ....................................................................................................16 2 Dispersive and Distributive Mixing ...............................................................17 2.1 2.2 Definitions and Illustrations .................................................................17 Dispersive Mixing................................................................................20 2.2.1 2.2.2 2.3 Dispersive Mixing Mechanisms ..............................................20 Dispersive Mixing of Additive Powders Such as Pigments .......24

Distributive Mixing .............................................................................29 2.3.1 2.3.2 Laminar Shear Flow Mixing ...................................................29 Measurement of Distributive Mixing Achieved by Laminar Shearing ....................................................................32 i

Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 2.3.3 2.3.4 Limitations of Lamina Flow Mixing ......................................34 Eliminating Laminar Striations ...............................................36

References .....................................................................................................55 3 Measurement of Mixing ................................................................................59 3.1 3.2 3.3 The Need for Measurement of Mixing ................................................59 Striation Thickness Measurement ........................................................60 Agglomerate Measurement ..................................................................61 3.3.1 3.3.2 3.3.3 3.4 3.5 Microscopy Examination of Thin Samples ..............................61 Agglomerate Count for Blown Film ........................................62 Screen Pack Filtration Test ......................................................62

Influences of Mixing on Product Properties .........................................68 Preparation of Thin Sections for Optical Microscopy Assessment........69

References .....................................................................................................69 4 Single Screw Extruder Stages: Effects on Mixing ...........................................71 References .....................................................................................................75 5 Pellet Handling: A Source of Variable Composition ......................................77 5.1 5.2 Introduction ........................................................................................77 Hopper Design ....................................................................................78 5.2.1 5.2.2 5.2.3 5.2.4 5.2.5 5.3 Mass Flow Hopper ................................................................78 Non-mass Flow Hopper .........................................................79 Round Hoppers .....................................................................80 Square and Rectangular Hoppers ...........................................81 Ledges and Corners ................................................................81

Composition Variations .......................................................................82 5.3.1 5.3.2 5.3.3 Example 1 ...............................................................................82 Example 2 ...............................................................................82 Example 3 ...............................................................................82


Contents 5.3.4 5.4 Other Systems .........................................................................83

Measurement of Particulate Properties ................................................84 5.4.1 Hopper Flow Tests ..................................................................84

References .....................................................................................................85 6 Solids Conveying in the Feed/Transport Zone ...............................................87 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Smooth Feed Zones .............................................................................87 Grooved Feed Zones............................................................................90 Particulate Friction Measurements .......................................................96 Friction in the Feed Zone.....................................................................99

References ...................................................................................................100 7 Melting........................................................................................................101 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 Melting Mechanism ...........................................................................101 Variations in Melting Rate .................................................................103 Solids Bed Break-up ...........................................................................105 Melting Devices .................................................................................107 Barrier Flight Melting Screws ............................................................115 7.5.1 7.5.2 7.5.3 7.5.4 7.5.5 7.6 The Barrier Screw Concept ...................................................115 Maillefer Barrier Screw .........................................................117 North American Barrier Screws ............................................118 Combined Barrier Screws and Grooved Feed Zones ..............123 Barrier Screw Developments .................................................124

Other Melting Screws ........................................................................125 7.6.1 7.6.2 7.6.3 7.6.4 Double Wave Screw .............................................................125 Barr Energy Transfer Screws ................................................126 Stratablend Mixing Screw .....................................................126 Shear-Ring Screw ..................................................................127 iii

Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 7.7 Barrier Flight Screws versus Conventional Screws .............................127

References ...................................................................................................131 8 Screw Channel Mixing and the Application of Mixing Sections ..................135 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Striations: Their Formation and Mixing in the Screw Channel ..........135 Mixing During Melting .....................................................................137 Mixing in the Melt Filled Screw Channel ..........................................137 Residence Time Distribution (RTD) ...................................................144 8.4.1 8.4.2 8.4.3 8.5 Concentration Smoothing .....................................................147 Variation of Residence Time with Channel Position ..............147 Implications of Pressure/Drag Flow Effects ...........................147

Mixing Sections .................................................................................148 8.5.1 8.5.2 8.5.3 Maddock Mixer ....................................................................148 Pins and Slots ........................................................................149 Mixer Evaluation Using an Independent Drive ......................152

References ...................................................................................................164 9 Interacting Rotor/Stator Mixers ..................................................................167 9.1 9.2 Overview ...........................................................................................167 Turbine Mixing Heads .......................................................................168 9.2.1 9.2.2 9.3 Stanley (ICI) Mixer ...............................................................168 Other Turbine Mixers ...........................................................170

Woodroffe Key Slot Mixers ...............................................................171 9.3.1 9.3.2 Gerber (Metal Box) Mixer ...................................................171 Renk (Barmag) Mixer ..........................................................172


Rounded Cavity Mixers .....................................................................176 9.4.1 9.4.2 Rapra Cavity Transfer Mixer ................................................176 Reifenhauser Staromix .........................................................184

References ...................................................................................................186 iv

.....7 Silicone Lubricant Injection ...............................................................................................................................................................................1 Viscosity Differences .....................................................3 Wire Insulation Colouring ........................................1 Helical Mixers ..............................220 References .............3................2 Static Mixers Used in plastics extrusion .2 Injection Moulding Check-ring Mixers ................202 12 Incorporation of Liquid Additives and Dispersions by Direct Addition .....................1 Mixing Mechanism .................................200 11..........189 10............................................2 Incorporating Liquid Additives ....................................................4 Disadvantages .208 12....................................................220 12........1 Introduction .208 12..................208 12.............Contents 10 Floating Ring Mixing Devices ........................209 12................3 Adaption of the Check Ring Mixer to Extrusion ..............................216 12...............5 Skin Colouring Pipes and Profiles..................................3 Some Examples of Liquid Injection Processes ...213 12............197 11......3.....2........................197 11...................4 Fibre Extrusion ................................1 Polybutene in Pallet-wrap and Silage-wrap Film .................................................3 Application in Heat Exchangers ....214 12........................................189 10.204 12............................................................................................................3.......204 12..........................3.........................2 Injection of Liquid Colours (General) ................................................3.......................................................3......6 Crosslinking Polyethylenes ..........................................200 References ..3....................................................197 11.................203 12..............................................................................3...8 Extrusion Foaming....................199 11....193 References ........227 v .............................2................2 Honeycomb Mixers ......198 11.................................................196 11 Static (or Motionless) Mixers .......189 10......................................................

.............................................229 13.............................................239 Dispersive Mixing Using Polymeric Waxes ...250 Break-up of Fibrils into Droplets .............................................................................3 13.............7 14..............................2 14...............................................3 14................11 Elimination of Gels ..........................................................................................................................................................................5 14.........254 Mixing by Controlled Continuous Chaotic Advection .....................................243 14.........................................................................................257 Blending Mixed Polymer Waste: Comparison of Twin Screw and Single Screw Extruders .........234 Dispersive Mixing Using Polymer Powders ............252 Polymer Blending in Single Screw Extrusion: Overall Mechanism...............Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 13 Dispersive Mixing of Fillers and Pigments ................5 Formation of Agglomerates ........273 Flattening Sections................230 Starved Feeding to Avoid Agglomerate Formation ................................................261 14.........................2 13...262 References ................269 References .1 14....................................9 Polymer Blends ........................................................................246 Polymer Waste .........................................................................259 14...8 14................................6 14..4 13........................................10 Elongational Flow Mixing ...............................4 14...................273 vi ..263 15 Compounding with Single Screw Extruders ........................243 Polymer Scrap ...........................229 Formation of Filler Agglomerates in a Single Screw Extruder .................................................................242 14 Dispersive Mixing Applied to Polymer Blending..................................................246 Polymer Blending Mechanisms in a Single Screw Extruder ...........................................270 Appendix – Preparation of Microtome Sections for Assessment of Dispersive and Distributive Mixing ..........239 References .....................................................1 13..........246 Blending Immiscible Viscous Fluids ...................................

.................................................................................................................................276 Washing and Mounting ........................................................276 Distortion ............................................276 Brushing Flat ...................279 Index ..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................277 Abbreviations .......................................274 Flattening the Rolled Sections...........281 vii ...Contents Trimming the Block .........................................................................................................................276 Holey Sections ..............

Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion viii .

I have paid little attention to mathematical derivations and instead concentrated on the results. the latter’s potential mixing performance and economic gains tend to be overlooked. Although some topics may read like a technical review. chemists. quality controllers. The attendees of these training courses came from a very wide spectrum of expertise and experience. therefore. These included engineers. Mixing is normally associated with twin screw extruders. this advantage is denied. During the many years I was involved with the Smithers Rapra training course: Exploring Extrusion. to link the chapters together and to make them as long or short as appears justified by each individual topic. Most of these books. which cover specific topics in depth have individual authors for each chapter. Steve Barnfield (iSmithers) for help. Elaine Cooper (iSmithers) for all her assistance in tracking down old reports. supervisors. I have selected only sufficient information to make a point and not exhaustively included every reference. I am very grateful to many people for assisting me with this book: Frances Gardiner (iSmithers) for commissioning and co-ordinating the production. each one an expert in their field. 1 . As a consequence. particularly with regard to present day economics. technical service and sales people. extrusion theory is very well covered by a number of books on extrusion to which I have referred. advice and preparation of figures and for typesetting the book and designing the cover. On the other hand. the subject of mixing in single screw extruders always generated a lot of interest. Consequently. In any case. plant operators. it gives the author complete freedom to decide what to include and what to omit. It seemed.P reface Most extruded plastics products contain additives and therefore mixing is involved at some stage in their production. I decided to write this book with this readership in mind. I have been very fortunate in having access to the Smithers Rapra Polymer Library – a very comprehensive library which has a number of reports which I produced some years ago. logical to treat this subject in more detail. and conversion to products associated with single screw extruders. By writing a book completely on one’s own.

Lydia Cooper for turning my handwritten manuscript into a word document. for loan of Richard Shales’ thesis. Hadj Benkreira of the University of Bradford. Malcolm Davies who was involved in almost all the Rapra laboratory work described and who helped rescue a number of photographs. Martin Gale April 2009 2 . Ivan James for his advice on optical microscopy. Vicki Tweddle and Eleanor Carter (iSmithers) for sourcing journals and conference papers and John Colbert and Colin Chilles (Smithers Rapra) for loan of books. Ken Gerber for information on the Metal Box mixer.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Sheila Cheese.

2) All the layers curve. The same results were obtained with tin. His technique was to ply discs of lead in a 100 mm diameter iron cylinder.1 The Need for Good Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion In 1867 Tresca gave a paper at the meeting of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers titled ‘The Flow of Solids’ [1]. punching and planing. his results would have been much the same. His results were as follows: 1) The discs remain parallel in the cylinder outside the area affected by the ‘jet’ formation. converge. 4) Each layer forms a distinct concentric tube. In the extrusion of plastics products such as film. 3) The ‘jet’ is entirely composed of a cylindrical envelope formed out of the bottom disc of the original mass. However. and bend over to form a ‘jet’. The cross section in his figures 10 to 15 are remarkably similar to those in recent papers concerned with mixing in plastics extruders. Tresca did not make any suggestions for elimination of these laminar effects as he had deliberately produced them to demonstrate the behaviour of metals during rolling. sheet. pipes and blow moulded containers and so on. silver. Had he used thermoplastic discs.1). 5) Each layer is closed at the outer extremity by a more or less convex cap which is the central part of each of the original discs. insulated wire. the function of the extruder is to reliably produce a final product which meets the required specification at an economic price. insert a piston and force the lead through an iron die with a hole 50 mm diameter using an hydraulic press (a ‘giant’ capillary rheometer). To a 21st century plastics engineer it comes as a surprise to find a 19th century publication that illustrates viscous laminar flow so clearly (Figure 1. 3 . forging. aluminium and so on.

Meeting of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers. (Reproduced from M.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 1. 1867) 4 .1 Diagram of flow of lead through dies from a paper presented by Tresca in 1865. Paris. France. Tresca.

2(a). Having achieved this. the extruder’s role in the overall scheme from individual materials to finished extruded composition needs considering. Over the years there has been a trend for additives to be incorporated at the product extrusion stage as masterbatches/concentrates in which the additives have been well mixed at a high concentration into a suitable polymeric carrier. and batch mixers such as the Banbury mixer. which are described as ‘Dispersive Mixing ‘ and ‘Distributive Mixing’ are covered in more detail in Chapter 2. the particles must be further mixed to achieve a uniform concentration throughout the polymer. These masterbatches. Before examining the technology involved in mixing during single screw extrusion of plastics products.2(a) were very widely used. A consequence of this is that mixing them into melted polymer requires finite forces sufficient to separate the individual particles and wet them with liquid polymer. In the past. very good distributive mixing is achievable. In general. The overall route may bypass the masterbatch stage depending on the type and level of additive. The majority of additives are powders and need to be in the form of very fine particles in order to perform satisfactorily and as a result tend naturally to agglomerate. which are produced in similar equipment to that used for compounds. but are introduced here to fit the single screw extruder into the overall mixing picture. with many compounds available containing the right additives to meet particular needs and specifications. slip. the routes in Figure 1.The Need for Good Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion To meet these requirements. These two steps. single screw extruders are unsuitable for dispersive mixing and not efficient for distributive mixing either. The level of distributive mixing required to ensure melt homogeneity and temperature uniformity is normally achievable on modern extruders. are added to natural polymer at a dilution which gives the required additive concentration in the 5 . fillers and so on. Mixing to achieve good dispersion is normally achieved using co-rotating twin screw extruders. but although little can be done regarding the former (with possible specialised exceptions in Chapter 13). final products often need to contain additives such as colour. This is shown in Figure 1. which have to be efficiently mixed into the polymer for the product to perform satisfactorily in service. The demands on the product extruder are limited to pumping a fully melted polymer at a uniform temperature and economic rate through the die. flame retardants. tackifiers. antiblock. antioxidants. Dispersive mixing in these machines is normally accompanied by good distributive mixing and hence these machines will produce well mixed plastics compounds ready for injection moulding and extrusion. continuous internal mixers.

The final extruder has an increased distributive mixing requirement of turning this pellet blend containing typically 5% (or even as low as 1%) masterbatch pellets into a uniform composition.2(b)).Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 1. 2) Reduced inventory costs. 1) Economies from buying masterbatch instead of compound. Although this may need attention to mixing problems. (Figure 1. final extruded product.2(a) Operation for manufacture of extrusions – Compounding route. 6 . it has a number of cost saving advantages for the product extruder. including reduced transport costs.

The Need for Good Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 1. test facilities and expertise to supply customers on an individual basis.2(b) Operation for manufacture of extrusions – Masterbatch route. This enables the extrusion personnel to concentrate on running their plant as efficiently as possible. 3) Flexibility to change natural polymer grade or supplier. It should also be noted that rationalisation of the polymer industry has produced a continuing trend towards fewer and larger suppliers on a global scale who supply polymers as a commodity. technical support such as fire resistance testing etc. As a result there is a shift in technical responsibility 7 . 4) Responsibility for colour matching. can be shared with the masterbatch supplier who has the necessary equipment.

This will be a particular problem when technical standards are required such as those for cables. However. or adding melting/mixing devices to refurbished screws. unreliable or unserviceable. The single screw extruder not only lacks the flexibility of the screw configurations of the twin screw extruder. or higher output rates are needed to remain economic. bearings. They also tend to be limited to pellet production unless a gear pump or in-line 8 . With extrusion companies so often caught in the middle between polymer suppliers increasing prices and customers demanding lower prices. this route may demand a distributive mixing performance unachievable by many single screw extruders. barrels. vacuum vents and downstream side feeders for fillers and fibres. Hence they are very adaptable to the mixing requirements of plastics compounding. but the production situation is that product extrusion is limited to what exists at the time in the plant. instrumentation etc. One should be aware that replacing a worn screw which gives good mixing at low output rate as a result of poor pumping efficiency with a new one can result in high output rates with mixing inadequate for its present application. 3) Retention of good mixing at increased output rate. Although the use of masterbatches confines the dispersive mixing role to compounding machines such as twin screw extruders. economies in the efficient use of materials is of increasing importance. a polymer widely used in coloured form for plastics sheet extrusion destined for applications such as thermo-formings. motors. these machines are complex and costly. Fortunately.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion to plastics product extruders and injection moulders to produce extrusions and mouldings that contain additives necessary for the customers’ requirements. multiple kneading sections. many screw design features and ‘add-on’ parts can be used to achieve the required results. The extruders may be ideal for the purpose. 2) Production efficiencies from improved polymer blending and scrap recycling. In their dispersive mixing role. with an understanding of the various factors influencing distributive mixing. This can provide an opportunity for fitting new screws with improved melting and mixing performance. enabling less additive to be used. This may be achieved by: 1) Better mixing. co-rotating twin screw extruders have changeable screw configurations. they may range in age and overall design and following past changes in product range have screws intended primarily for other applications. as they become worn. Single screw extruders have been likened to ‘Grandma’s broom’ with replacement of screws. On the other hand. This also includes engineering plastics such as acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene.

1. Unfortunately the extruders at that time experienced difficulties in meeting the mixing requirements of the applicable standards.2. single screw extruders are simple. sheet containing fillers or fibres.3 and 1. Photomicrographs have also been shown in connection with meeting the outdoor performance application standards for insulated cables by Patch [5]. rugged. Typical cross sections are shown in Figures 1. The advantage offered to pipe producers for using a blend of natural polyethylene and carbon black masterbatch was a very significant materials cost savings. The discontinued compounds included black polyethylene for water pipe extrusion in which the pipe producers substituted the black compound fed to their extruders with pellet blends of natural polyethylene and carbon black masterbatch. 1. Pipes made to technical standards applicable at the time [2-4] contained 2.4 is a negative of Figure 1.The Need for Good Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion single screw extruder is added downstream to generate the required die pressure to make. for example. whilst Lee and Borke [6] have quite recently included mixing effects among factors affecting the performance of carbon black masterbatches in wire and cable applications. 9 . a number of polymer suppliers introduced a marketing policy which discontinued the supply of polyolefin compounds in favour of supplying natural materials. In comparison. Consequently.5% carbon black suitably dispersed and distributed to provide protection for the polyethylene against the UV component of sunlight. low maintenance machines capable of developing whatever die pressures are required to make a very diverse range of extrusions. there are ongoing and very diverse approaches into introducing ways of reducing the inherent dispersive mixing limitations of single screw extruders such that single pass extrusion might be used. Those standards have since been incorporated into current European ‘harmonised’ versions [2-4] in which the carbon black dispersion requirements are essentially the same.2 Examples of Mixing Problems The following examples illustrate a few of the wide ranging applications requiring better mixing by the finished product extruder.3 and shows the striations more clearly).4 (Figure 1. low cost.1 Polyethylene Pipes and Cables In the 1970s.

3 Pipe cross section photomicrograph without breaker plate. (Photograph taken by D.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 1. (Photograph taken by D.I. James. ©Rapra Technology) Figure 1.I.4 Pipe cross section photomicrograph (negative) with breaker plate. James. ©Rapra Technology) 10 .

This indicates that the blow moulder had ‘given away’ expensive colour masterbatch. Viewed through the bottle’s neck there are stripes of poorly distributed blue masterbatch. (b) Inside view through neck showing masterbatch stripes.2. 8]. 11 . If good distributive mixing had been achieved by the extruder. Masterbatch mixing appears to be a particular problem with blow moulded containers in high molecular weight polyethylene [7. (a) complete bottle.5 Blow moulded bottle.5 shows a blow moulded bottle which formerly contained a laundry softener. (a) (b) Figure 1. less masterbatch could have been used and the bottle more profitable.The Need for Good Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 1.2 Blow Moulded Bottles Figure 1.

(a) (b) Figure 1. In this case the dispersion (and distribution) was good. The speckled pipe sample (Figure 1. extruded as a blend of polypropylene pellets and 40 wt% surface treated Calcium carbonate filler as a substitute for rigid polyvinylchloride (PVC).6 Polypropylene pipe with (a) undispersed agglomerated filler.6) clearly shows that dispersive mixing of fine powders is difficult or impossible with a single screw extruder under normal conditions.2.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 1. but the two stage process would have been uneconomic. (b) produced using a two-stage process 12 . A pipe with the same composition was produced using a very high concentration of chalk masterbatch prepared in a twin screw extruder and let down to 40 wt% chalk in the single screw extruder used previously.3 Chalk Filled Polypropylene Pipe Rigid pipe was required.

Following laboratory trials to evaluate potential mixing devices a mixer was retrofitted as a screw extension which solved the problem. In an example. The results for individual test pieces ranged from immediate flame extinction to burning the full length of the test piece: most results being scattered between these two extremes.6 Production Scrap Re-use Distributive mixing can influence production economics in situations other than the incorporation of masterbatches and additives. The addition of a mixing element of the types described in Chapter 9 will often enable the extruder to produce good striation free film from the same polymer and colour masterbatch blend which otherwise produces film with coloured stripes.5 Industrial Blow Mouldings Blow moulded containers forming part of a machine incorporated a flame retardant masterbatch in order to meet a UL94 spread of flame requirement which used test pieces 12. In the production of thermoformed food packaging containers. a mixing device was fitted to the scrap layer production extruder which solved the problem.22. 1.2. thin sheet edge trim and skeletal scrap (a continuous sheet full of holes following separation of formed containers such as round yoghurt pots) can represent 40% of the original sheet. Following laboratory extrusion trials with the granulated scrap.2.4 Blown Film Film blowing will show up problems of poor masterbatch distribution even more than blow mouldings and will also show the presence of agglomerates due to substandard pigment dispersion. Microscopy examination revealed that the scatter of results was caused by the flame retarding masterbatch being distributed in bands similar to those for bottles described in Section 1. This technique is sometimes used on a laboratory scale for pigment masterbatch quality control. Inadequate homogenising of the separate components of the scrap layer resulted in unacceptable ripples in the thermoformed pots. 13 . a five layer barrier sheet consisting of a barrier polymer layer with adjoining adhesive and polyolefin layers on either side had an additional layer of ‘buried scrap’. It is essential to the economics of the process that this scrap is recycled.7 mm wide by 150 mm long. Inadequate mixing of flame retardant masterbatches has also resulted in corner cracking of large blow moulded drums used for transporting chemicals when drop tested.2.The Need for Good Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 1. It appears that the blowing process exaggerates this effect. 1.

2.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 1.7. but infra-red analysis showed the observed gels were clusters of 14 . A microscopic examination showed that the holes had been generated by pigment agglomerates. or near.2. gels. which appeared to be carbon black agglomerates. The use of fine wire mesh screens at the barrel exit by the product extruder may suffice to catch a very low concentration of agglomerates. most likely caused by thermal oxidation during the extrusion process. but might not be used with PVC in case of stagnation causing thermal decomposition. In practice. each hole having an agglomerate at its edge. filler.2. allowing rain to penetrate the silage during outdoor storage. paper wrapping.2 Silage Wrap Splitting in Use Following the rotting of silage. Normally an agglomerate will be found at the edge of the hole and at.1 Thin Plasticised PVC A very thin flexible PVC extrusion proved unsatisfactory in service due to porosity. Initially the extruder had been blamed for a lack of mixing.11).3 Holes in Silage Wrap Film During Film Blowing Holes caused by gels appeared during film blowing of linear low-density polyethylene silage wrap film.7. However. Examination showed particles existing at the start of each slit. Gels may result from a need to locate ‘hang-up’ areas in the machinery to prevent oxidation or if a melting problem it might be dealt with by dispersive mixing.7 Agglomerates and Gels in Thin Extrusions The presence of undispersed particle clusters in thin sheet and film can result in holes or thin lines prone to splitting in use. The gels appeared to melt when film samples were heated on a microscope hot stage. The agglomerates should not be present in the feed material. 1. this is difficult (see Section 14. or contaminants. 1. or stabiliser and not degraded PVC or contaminants such as dirt off the floor following repacking a split bag by a carrier. and ball point pen tips.2. It was important in this case to establish that the problem was caused by pigment. infra-red analysis showed the particles to be crosslinked gels. 1.7. These particles may be additive agglomerates. it was found that considerable amounts of film had split. but the remedy was entirely with the compound supplier to ensure the PVC compound was free from agglomerates in the first place. the start of the thin section line.

The answer to the problem of gels is to avoid their formation in the first place if at all possible (see Chapter 14). PVC. Suspecting that the problem was caused by oxidative crosslinking in the extrusion equipment. the solution widely used in blown film extrusion is to filter out the particles using fine mesh screens. when such gels consist of partially crosslinked rubbery unmelted oxidised particles.9 Decorative Wood Grain Effects A lack of distributive mixing can be exploited. cloudy and not transparent. although smaller gels may deform like soft rubber balls. the problems lay with the formation of gels which ideally would be destroyed by good dispersive mixing.2. can be blended with a number of polymers such as styrene-acrylonitrile (SAN). and no chrome or polished surfaces in difficult to access areas. Unfortunately the gels may develop after the screens both in the die or more likely as a result of co-extrusion feed pipes. and polycarbonate. 1. Following work with an independently driven mixer. 1. an antioxidant masterbatch was blended with the natural polymer pellets and a liquid antioxidant was added to the polybutene tackifier being pumped into the extruder. corners.The Need for Good Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion finely divided partially crosslinked particles. strips extruded from a pellet blend using a 25 mm laboratory extruder were white. which is widely used in medical applications. In addition to eliminating formation of large gels previously causing the holes. Suitable thermoforming properties and adequate transparency had been achieved with 35 wt% polycaprolactone blended with 65 wt% SAN using small laboratory samples prepared in a torque rheometer. Unfortunately. In these two silage wrap film examples. the large number of smaller gels was also eliminated. squeezing through the screen apertures and recovering their shape after the screen. The patterns are the result of 15 . In this example a polymer blend of polycaprolactone with a high nitrile SAN was expected to give a transparent extruded sheet which was thermoformable in hot water. it transformed the film quality. These may be long with ‘dog legs’. Although this increased materials cost. to give decorative patterns on the surface. providing it is controlled.8 Transparent Polycaprolactone/SAN Blends Polycaprolactone. This is normally achieved using blends of different coloured pellets which also differ in viscosity.2. However. subsequent trials with a 38 mm extruder having a cavity transfer mixer attached as a screw and barrel extension gave acceptable transparency.

. 1972. This continues a long history in which coloured blends of cellulosic plastics were developed for spectacle frames. Lee and J. 6. 12. Drainage and Sewage – Polyethylene (PE) – Part 5: Fitness for Purpose of the System. Kohn. Plastics Piping Systems for Buried and Above-Ground Pressure Systems for Water for General Purposes. UK. This effect can be exploited to provide extruded wood grain effect plastic profiles for office furniture. etc. Martin. References 1. 2004. Kunststofftechnik. M. 2003. G. R. 2003. 3.S. London. William Mackenzie. BS EN 13244-1. 16 .Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion a combination of the melting process producing coloured ribbons and viscous flow in the die with drag at die surfaces producing coloured striations as described in later chapters. 2. 1975. 89. Kunststoffe. 1868. Ed. 11. 11. D. 7. 64. IL. 65. 2. Drainage and Sewage – Polyethylene (PE) – Part 2: Pipes.D. BS EN 13244-2. Borke in Proceedings of the 62nd Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC 2004. pen barrels and combs: processes which originally exploited the poor mixing performances of the short barreled extruders and plunger injection moulding machines of the past. Plastics Piping Systems for Buried and Above-Ground Pressure Systems for Water for General Purposes. Special masterbatches are available for such applications. 5. 4. Patch. USA. BS EN 13244-5. C. p. Chicago. 2003. Tresca in Iron and Steel Manufacture. 641. 8. Plastics Piping Systems for Buried and Above-Ground Pressure Syetems for Water for General Purposes. Boes. 329. shop fittings.288. F. Drainage and Sewage – Polyethylene (PE) – Part 1: General. Kunststoffe. 1974.

high shear strain (a lot of whisking!) is required. however. In a real single screw extruder situation this product would most likely have laminar striations. in addition to the pick axe!). Figure 2. A simple illustration of these two terms is shown in Figure 2. Also for good distributive mixing. no readers of this book are confronted with this situation! It does. Each of the four diagrams has the same number of spots to represent additive particles at their ultimate size. but in considering the opportunities and limitations of exploiting the single screw extruder as a mixer during product extrusion. The two operations are shown in Figure 2. 17 . Hopefully. Dispersive Mixing: An operation that reduces an agglomerate size of the minor constituent to it’s ultimate particle size. All the agglomerates have been broken down into ultimate particles which are separated and surrounded by polymer.1 Definitions and Illustrations These terms were introduced in Chapter 1. The agglomerates are uniformly spaced. Normally this would be an undesirable situation.2(a) shows bad dispersion and bad distribution. but (within limits).2.2 Dispersive and Distributive Mixing 2. distribution is poor with areas of high. However. There are many agglomerates and also areas of high and low concentration. Figure 2.2(c) shows good dispersion. might be desirable for carbon black in an electrically conducting extrusion. Distributive Mixing: An operation that increases the randomness of the spatial distribution of the minor constituent within the major base with no changes in the size of the minor particle. low and zero concentrations. discrimination between these two types of mixing is essential.2(d) shows good dispersion and good distribution. Figure 2. Figure 2. Increasing dispersive mixing will reduce conductivity.2(b) shows bad dispersion and good distribution. illustrate that large forces may be necessary to achieve good dispersion (Note: large size of motor.1.

18 .Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 2. Richard Juniper) Figure 2. (Reproduced with permission from Richard Juniper. ©2009.1 Distributive mixing and dispersive mixing.2 Diagrammatic representation of dispersive and distributive mixing effects.

a single screw extruder with a general purpose screw with no mixing devices produced numerous laminar streaks and there are carbon black agglomerates present.3(a). As described in Chapter 7. (b) and (c).3(a) which has eliminated the striations but agglomerates are still present and in the absence of striations are more clearly seen. (Note that carbon black agglomerates are allowed by pipe and cable standards providing their number and size are within specified limits). This is typical for an extruder feed for a product to be used outdoors and consequently requiring protection against the UV component of sunlight.3(c). the prime function of barrier screws is to control melting. a barrier melting/mixing screw was used and shows a mixture of striations and agglomerates. In Figure 2.3(a). (©Rapra Technology) Real situations for the same material composition are shown in the three photomicrographs of Figures 2. 19 . Mixing will often be improved as a result of this function since it is dependant on melting as explained in later chapters.3(b) a cavity transfer mixer (CTM) extension (see Chapter 9) has been added to the screw used in Figure 2. The greyness gradation is the result of microtomed thickness variation.5%. In Figure 2. although not easily identified amongst the striations of masterbatch.3 Photomicrographs showing real mixing situations when incorporating carbon black masterbatch to give 2.Dispersive and Distributive Mixing Figure 2.5% carbon black in polypropylene. All three are for the same pellet blend of polypropylene and carbon black masterbatch giving a final carbon black concentration of 2. In Figure 2.

Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion There are a confusing number of terms used to describe mixing. However. To achieve this. whilst the mixing processes used can sometimes contribute to the problem.’ ‘extensive mixing. In comparatively recent developments. Many of the terms describe the mechanism involved. There will be a combination of compression. 2]. shearing and acceleration subjected to the agglomerate X as it passes into and through the gap 20 . dispersive mixing in single screw extrusion has been investigated for polymer blending (Chapter 14). squeezing (or kneading). such as elongation.1(a) an agglomerate X enters the nip formed by the tip of the turning rotor and mixer wall. laminar shearing. they are achievable using single screw extruders (see Chapter 14).1 Dispersive Mixing Mechanisms Dispersive mixing is required for the mixing of solid additives into polymers. the surrounding polymer or polymer/wax matrix needs a flow field which will provide the necessary force.2. Most additives are solids and for effective performance need to be used as fine powders and well mixed into the polymer. but the fundamental behaviour can be represented by the following simple model. methods of mixing incompatible polymers using (dispersive) elongational mixing are usually adopted. As this book is concerned with single screw extruders. whilst ‘dispersive mixing’ may be described as ‘intensive mixing’ and ‘elongational mixing’. The attraction forces between particles require tensile forces sufficiently high to separate them and cause break up of the agglomerates and also promote wetting by the polymer of the newly exposed particle surfaces. dispersive mixing is usually accompanied by distributive mixing but the opposite does not apply. Furthermore. As droplet mixing has traditionally been considered a dispersive mixing process.4. In Figure 2. ‘Distributive mixing’ may be described as ‘simple mixing. Additives with a particle size of less than 100 µm tend to naturally agglomerate.’ or ‘blending’. The turning rotors of internal mixers and co-rotating twin screw compounding extruders will usually provide the required shear forces. The overall mixing mechanisms of these machines is very complex [1. 2. etc. (or stretching). it has been found that although the mixing mechanisms which occur in polymer blending can be surprisingly complex. no matter what precautions are taken. most of the mixing which takes place is ‘distributive’ and accomplished by laminar shearing. These agglomerates will often be present.2 Dispersive Mixing 2.

This will be followed by stretching forces from the diverging flow paths in the gap exit region which may also rupture particles (Figure 2. formed between the rotor tip and chamber wall.4.4 Dispersive mixing in an internal (batch) mixer.1(b)). They will pass through a nip (maybe a different 21 . These then move around the mixer following complex paths dictated by the machine design.Dispersive and Distributive Mixing Figure 2.

University of Bradford.5 Influence of four mixer speeds at three mixing times. (© R. UK) 22 .Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 2. Butterfield.

4. 8 and 12 minutes were made at each of the 4 speeds.4. which increases the chances of rupture.60 to 0. higher viscosity polymer or higher pigment or other additive levels. The effect of the elongational flow field for dispersive mixing (although the geometry was quite different). Increasing the speed increases the stresses applied to the agglomerates and the frequency of passes. Three runs of 4. The apparatus had four driven shafts arranged in a square which had alternative arrangements to demonstrate both the elongational flow field used to achieve dispersive mixing and laminar shear associated with single screw extruder mixing. The device was immersed in a viscous silicone fluid in a small glass aquarium. resulting in a change of colour. It is likely that the orientation of the clusters will change each time they enter the high stress field. The complex paths taken by the particles also achieves good distributive mixing The degree of dispersion.010 particle size range). (Due to limited space the data is confined to the 0.2(c)2. breaking up further: the process being repeated until break down to the ultimate achievable particle size is reached (Figures 2. A spherical agglomerate consisting of acrylic powder bound together with silicone fluid and having a solids concentration of about 70% was placed at the centre of 4 rollers located on the spindles. The rollers were then rotated to apply an elongational flow field to the agglomerate as shown in Figure 2. Dispersion forces will also be increased by increasing viscosity. the rollers were replaced with sprockets and two endless belts made from 35 mm film were fitted. To compare elongational flow with shear flow.. i. reduction in particle size achieved. subjecting the particle interfaces to alternating tension and compression. was demonstrated in model experiments by Theodorou [4].5. will depend on rotor speed and mixing time. This may be achieved by using minimum temperatures.6. but this is complicated by requirements of particle wetting and air displacement. By having two surfaces moving in the opposite direction. a laminar shear flow field was generated. In Figure 2. The apparatus was based on that used originally by Taylor [5] for studying droplet behaviour and compared simple shear flow with hyperbolic elongational flow using model agglomerates instead of droplets. 23 . It is also interesting that the peak is skewed so close to what may be the ultimate particle size.e. the agglomerate remained in the field of view.Dispersive and Distributive Mixing one) separately for a second time. bar charts show the particle size distribution for 4 rotor speeds in a ‘Minimixer’ [3] for a colour masterbatch. A particle cloud was formed which became aligned in the direction of maximum stress whilst the agglomerate was subjected continuously to the maximum elongational force.7). By rotating all the sprockets in the same direction. Some pigments may be damaged (‘bruised’). These results clearly illustrate how the number of small particles increases with increasing speed and time. Under these conditions the agglomerate rotated.

they are more usually the concern of the compound and masterbatch supplier.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 2. A figure of 6 times has been given for experiments using cohesionless particle clusters [6. Although this can cause problems (with the single screw extruder normally being unable to satisfactorily incorporate these additives). flame retardants. fillers etc are almost always in the form of very fine powders as this is usually necessary for them to perform effectively. 7].2 Dispersive Mixing of Additive Powders Such as Pigments Additives required to give properties for specific applications such as pigments. 2.2. The elongational flow field was found to be two to three times more effective for dispersing than the shear flow field. However. There are many situations that may result in the presence of agglomerates which cause trouble whether from 24 . it is useful for the product extruder to appreciate the factors involved in dispersive mixing of powders into polymers.6 Model experiments illustrating laminar and elongational shear fields.

1 Comparison of ideal and real conditions for good dispersion Property Particulate size Surface energy Polymer viscosity Requirement for good dispersion Similar Similar Very low The reality Very different Very different Very high 1. for example. opacity or transparency. Table 2. polymer powder should be used. It may also make an otherwise uneconomic situation viable by combining compounding with product extrusion. but with particle sizes of less than 100 µm agglomeration naturally occurs. The customer may well be critical of the smallest discrepancy in colour shade. the single screw machine’s simplicity and ruggedness is more suited to meeting uncertainties of feed stock compositions and potential contaminants. Pigments are probably the most widely used additive and generally the most demanding. or both. There is also the ongoing desire to use single screw extruders in a compounding role. and also helps to remedy problems where suppliers are involved. To minimise agglomeration. [8-12] but polymers are normally supplied as 3 mm pellets. With a growing need for recycling post consumer waste. gloss etc. ideally combined with product extrusion such as filled sheet or pipe. particularly where matching with other components is necessary such as painted automotive parts and thermoformed bathroom items and so on. The range of reactor powder (except for PVC) is very limited and grinding increases costs. together with the reality are shown in Table 2. An understanding of the factors involved gives an appreciation of why good dispersive mixing of powders is difficult to achieve in single screw extruders.Dispersive and Distributive Mixing appearance or performance. 25 . The finer the particle size of the pigment. to compete with rigid polyvinylchloride (PVC). flame retardant etc. The ideal requirements for polymer and additives.1. The dispersion process as a whole for the incorporation of fine particle pigments and fillers etc into polymers contains a number of obstacles inherent in the physical requirements of the process. then normally the better its final performance.

Impingement with the rotor blades may disperse particles. the opacity. However. efficient hiding power with titanium dioxide pigment is achieved with a particle size of about 0. which is hydrophobic. Polymers normally have high melt viscosities (in contrast to oils used for paint pigment dispersions) which makes penetration between additive particles difficult. During mixing of pigments with polymer pellets. Pigments. may cause agglomeration or may result in pigment build-up on the mixer blades of up to 20% of the pigment. which is why powders are free flowing above this diameter and cohesive if less. Consequently the former are more easily dispersed in organic media of low polarity such as hydrocarbon plastics. they must be wetted by the matrix to displace air from polymer clusters such as agglomerates and coat each particle. is used in plastics. The fine grinding used to produce very fine powders promotes a tendency to spontaneously agglomerate to reduce surface energy. Increasing the polymer surface area by reducing the pellet size will reduce the pigments tendency to form agglomerates but may leave weak agglomerates undispersed. Smith’s recommendation was that the best way to avoid agglomerates was to prevent their formation in the first place [8]. This may later break off during mixing and produce further agglomerates. and flame retardants are often polar and hydrophilic (even organic pigments can contain water of crystallisation).25 µm. but agglomerates may be formed by compaction between plastics pellets and between pellets and the mixer wall. Smaller particles also contribute to a higher colour value. For particles of about 100 µm and below. 26 . In dispersing powders. Phthalo Blue. fillers. This is more easily achieved by the comparatively low viscosity of paints than the high viscosities of molten plastic. weak agglomerates may be dispersed. 3. whereas polymers tend to be non-polar. the former requires higher standards of dispersion. Smith [8-11] described a range of circumstances which could cause agglomerates to be formed. further agglomerating factors were impurities. Further requirements are the removal of water. but the latter will be wetted more easily by water and highly polar media. High speed mixing can substitute one agglomeration mechanism for another. dust preventing additives and compaction of these very low bulk density materials. hydrophobic hydrocarbons. transparency and gloss can be related to particle size [9]. For example. For pigments.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 2. the attractive force exceeds the separation forces. In a very comprehensive set of articles on the importance of the physical properties of pigments in relation to their dispersion into plastics. air and other impurities at the particle-polymer interface and the subsequent establishment of a firm bond between the two phases [12]. These were either deliberate for transportation or unintentional from silo storage or stacking bags. Some pigments have hydrophobic surfaces whilst others are hydrophilic. For example. In addition to promoting a tendency for spontaneous agglomeration by fine grinding.

paints and inks. they are prepared like masterbatches in internal and twin screw compounding machines. Fillers and flame retardants such as alumina trihydrate are frequently used at concentrations of up to 50 wt%. The following economic losses caused by pigment dispersion problems were described by Smith as follows [8]: 1) Extra production time needed to achieve satisfactory dispersion. 2) Expensive pigment wasted when extra pigment is added to compensate for the disproportionate quantity of total pigment which comprises the agglomerates. 5) Rejection of finished products having obvious pigment defects and streaks. 4) ‘Off-shade’ product when one pigment of several in a blend forms agglomerates. but often with no dilution required in the final product extrusion.. reduced mechanical strength.g. However. breakage of fibres and films during production. suggesting they were more likely to stick to mixer impellers [8]. e. anomalous weathering resistance and colour variations. (particularly phthalocyanines). But Ultramarine which is hydrophilic is used in paints and inks but not plastics and elastomers [11].Dispersive and Distributive Mixing elastomers. decrease elongation and thermal expansion and improve dimensional stability of extrusions and mouldings. 3) Technical problems caused by presence of agglomerates. plus colour variations during production runs. were more elastic than inorganic ones. Some (mainly organics). whether they act as a ‘filler’ or ‘reinforcement’ depends on the aspect ratio of the particles. A simple 27 . Being of a similar concentration to a pigment or carbon black masterbatch. Surface active agents help dispersion and prevent agglomerate formation by reducing interfacial surface tension. Smith compressed a range of pigments in a tableting machine instrumented to measure radial and axial pressures and concluded that the more difficult to disperse organic pigments. lubricating surfaces to increase mobility and prevent agglomeration. Pigment dispersability is also influenced by its relative hardness/softness. All fillers increase stiffness. Crushing tests showed large differences in compaction strengths between organic and inorganic pigments. were more prone than others to stick to the metal mould. Adsorbed water and other impurities will be removed which otherwise would hinder dispersion. electrical faults. manufacturing route and surface treatment [13].

but using the cheaper. with the combination of high concentrations and reinforcing role. simpler single screw machine (see Chapter 13). although filler manufacturers can apply coatings which reduce the surface energy and thereby improve dispersion. 3) Specific surface.2 Approximate ratios of surface energy values for several fillers/ reinforcements and titanium dioxide compared with an average value for plastics Filler/Reinforcement Mica Glass Titanium dioxide Calcium carbonate (chalk) Talc Plastics Ratio to typical plastics 65-145 30 15 2 2 1 28 . of which four were most important: 1) Particle shape. Smaller filler particles which have the potential to give the best reinforcement due to higher interaction with the polymer may provide dispersion problems and unprocessable high viscosity compositions. there is an interest in single screw one-pass extrusion. Surface energy figures for a range of fillers have been listed by Schlumpf [14]. Schlumpf [14].Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion substitution of a significant proportion of the ‘expensive polymer’ with a ‘cheap filler’ to reduce final overall extrudate cost is not readily achievable following density considerations and compounding costs. Too high a surface energy may cause dispersion problems which negate the potential advantage of high interaction of filler and polymer. Approximate ratios for some of these values to that of typical plastics are shown in Table 2.2. has listed eight factors to be considered by the processor. certain particle characteristics may be of greater concern than with many other additives. 4) Surface energy. As a result. similar to unplasticised PVC powder dry blend extrusion of building products with twin screw extruders. Although similar considerations apply to pigments. Table 2. 2) Particle size distribution curve with ‘top cut’.

e.. In the single screw extruder.Dispersive and Distributive Mixing 2. The behaviour of such liquids will be very much influenced by viscosity. to varying degrees (and cost). the single screw extruder will be required to achieve a dilution to a completely uniform composition during extrusion.g. which otherwise would be a very efficient method of mixing from a practical standpoint. Every stage in the extruder from the pellet feed to the die. Being viscous. i. However. Neither will they readily mix by molecular diffusion like gases and low viscosity liquids. Consequently masterbatches and compounds contain additive particles which are uniformly spaced and free from laminar streaks. As molten polymers are high viscosity fluids. molten polymers continue to deform as long as a stress is applied. For 29 . provide good distributive mixing. but with masterbatches. which may result in an unsatisfactory result. they cannot be readily subjected to turbulent flow.7).. distributive mixing adequate for the application should be achievable. there are numerous approaches and devices available which.1 Laminar Shear Flow Mixing Laminar shear occurs in viscous fluids situated between fixed and moving surfaces. can succeed in overcoming them. novel processes are possible which can provide significant technical and economic benefits. No further particle mixing is necessary for compounds. 2.3 Distributive Mixing A uniform spatial distribution of additive particles is normally achieved concurrently with good dispersive mixing in internal mixers and twin screw compounding extruders.3. There are also variables within the extrusion process which often need to be taken into account. the viscous polymer melt undergoes a mechanism of laminar flow in which the shear stresses are determined (and therefore limited) by the viscosity of the polymer. with an understanding of single screw distributive mixing. although there are limitations to this generalised assumption. On the other hand. Viscosity is defined as the ratio of shear stress to rate of strain (Figure 2. between an extruder barrel surface and rotating screw [15] (Figure 2. providing the extruder is suitably equipped to meet the level of mixing required for the product. should be considered as all have an influence on the level of mixing which will be achieved.e.8). Although dispersive mixing is rarely possible in single screw extruders. but the total shear strain available is restricted by the length of the extruder.

Figure 2. 30 .Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 2.7 Laminar shear flow between stationary and moving plates.8 Viscous behaviour of molten polymers.

resulting in thermal degradation which produces discoloration.Dispersive and Distributive Mixing Figure 2.9). etc. example. 31 . in a melt flow index tester the molten polymer will flow through the nozzle at a constant rate when the weight is applied to the piston (Figure 2.9 Melt flow index tester: Constant shear rate and laminar flow. in some circumstances. The energy generated by the deformation is dissipated as heat. This is an important processing characteristic as rapid stressing such as high extruder screw rotation speeds can. gels. inferior mechanical properties. generate heat faster than it can be removed.

it is normal practice to plot viscosity against shear rate on a log/log scale and include graphs for a range of temperatures (Figure 2. Fleming.2 Measurement of Distributive Mixing Achieved by Laminar Shearing A model used to demonstrate laminar shear mixing is ‘Couette flow’ [16. The reduction in viscosity by shear thinning is important in screw extrusion as it constrains die pressures and partly mitigates the shear heating effects caused by increasing screw speed.10). ©D. However. the long entangled polymer molecular chains will become partly unravelled and become aligned in the direction of shear. within the screw channel. (Reproduced with permission from D. Flemming) If the molten polymer flows with a viscosity independent of stress level.3. its behaviour is said to be Newtonian. the principle used in the ‘Couette Viscometer’ The geometrical arrangement is to have the two viscous fluids to be mixed occupying two halves of an annulus formed by a rotatable mandrel within a cylinder (Figure 2. Fleming Polymer Testing and Consultancy.10 Viscosity of molten HDPE at several temperatures. To provide a viscosity ‘picture’ of a particular polymer grade. 2. thermoplastics would be 10 to 1000 times more difficult to extrude. This molecular alignment reduces viscosity and the shear thinning is termed pseudoplastic (Figure 2. If this were not the case. 32 .11).Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 2. 17].9). An analogy used by Cogswell [15] was the generation of a more ordered state of spaghetti on a plate following twirling with a fork.

As viscous polymers normally wet the surfaces of plastics machinery.11 Couette flow. the original thickness divided by the new thickness will give the same answer: t A Final area original thickness = or f = o Original area final thickness Ao tf For measurement of distributive mixing. This increase in area can be used as a measure of the degree of mixing: Degree of mixing = A new area = f original area A o The greater the number of rotations. striation thickness is a far more practical proposition than measuring surface area (see Chapter 3). the greater the increase in area. we assume the two fluids X and Y will remain in contact with the surfaces of the respective halves on the outside and on the mandrel. and with the volumes remaining constant. As the volume of fluid remains constant. the striation thickness must decrease at the same rate. In the above example the 33 .Dispersive and Distributive Mixing X Y Figure 2. the area of contact between the two fluids increases in proportion to the number of rotations of the mandrel. As the mandrel is rotated. and hence the ‘degree of mixing’.

Figure 2.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion annulus contains two fluids in equal amounts. observing how the concentrate forms striations which become longer and thinner. skin and pips with the very limited forces available by stirring. 34 . It also demonstrates the surprising amount of stirring necessary to produce a uniform colour and the impossibility of dispersive mixing bits of fruit. as would be the case for 5% of a 40% carbon black masterbatch.12 Laminar shear in the screw channel.12). we can simplify the mechanism by considering a cross section as follows (Figure 2. but the same situation applies when one component forms a very small proportion of the total area.3 Limitations of Lamina Flow Mixing In considering the laminar shear flow due to screw rotation. A simple demonstration is to add a small amount of fruit concentrate or jam to natural yoghurt and stir slowly.3. 2.

we can plot Sin ∅ against Cot ∅ to show how striation thickness ratio changes with shear strain (Figure 2.e.. Shear strain by definition is the amount moved divided by the distance between the two planes: Shear strain (ϒ) = L/h = Cot ∅ Striation thickness ratio = t1 = sin ∅ t0 Where t1 = original striation thickness t2 = striation thickness after applying a shear strain of L/h L = length h = height From a starting position of zero strain i. approaching zero. a striation A B C1 D1 will be sheared as the screw rotates to position A B C2 D2 which can be defined by the angle ∅. i. Figure 2.e. Using the scheme described by McKelvey [16]. L = 0 and ∅ = 90° to a position where strain is high such that ∅ is correspondingly very small.Dispersive and Distributive Mixing Movement of the screw surface shears the viscous polymer melt in a similar manner to the Couette viscometer.13).. 35 .13 Limitations of laminar shear mixing in a single screw extruder.

From observations of shear flow behaviour it appeared reasonable to assume that one can rely on a consistent orientation which is independent of the initial orientation. As a result the remaining length of the screw channel has very little effect on mixing these aligned striations. is approximately of the scale 10-4 m. However. It is possible that by the time the screw tip is reached. 2) Variable weathering performance and flame propagation. However. there are a number of other factors which need to be considered including the following: 1) Lateral stretching during blow moulding and film extrusion emphasises the presence of striations. 4) Increased materials costs from inefficient use of masterbatch. the ultimate final mixing goal in many applications. The striation behaviour shown in Figure 2. occurs during initial straining and then rapidly tails off so that further strain has little or no effect. there may well be striations in the extruded product as described in several of the examples in Chapter 1.4 Eliminating Laminar Striations As stated by Smith [18]: ‘There is little more to mixing in polymers than meets the eye’. The overall position is that once these striations are aligned. in which masterbatch striations are formed. 3) Possible reduction in mechanical properties. the mixing efficiency rapidly declines. masterbatch striations. will be adequately mixed for the application. the shear strain available in the remaining length of the screw channel before the die is reached. has very little effect. Mixing sections should then be designed to rotate the fluid and present the striations at the most favourable orientation for the following section to continue the shearing 36 .Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion The overall effect is that most of the mixing.3. The resolution of the human eye. 2. although subjected to very limited shear mixing following orientation in the direction of shear.4. 2. As a consequence. as measured by striation thickness ratio.1 Fundamentals Erwin [19] commented that it should be possible to take advantage of the predictable laminar orientation to design mixing sections that increase the rate of mixing.3.12 between a moving and stationary surface is a very simplified picture of the real situation where striations spiral down the screw channel. and therefore. Following melting. the alignment of striations observed in screw channel samples demonstrates that the simple model is valid.

Erwin also included a table showing a theoretical optimum number of re-orientated shearing stages necessary to produce the mixing equivalent to an extruder without re-orienting devices imparting a shear of 10.. In the distributive mixing of two similar viscous lamina flow liquids. 37 . the degree of mixedness can be assessed by either the total interfacial area between them. The optimum was 10 shearing sections (i. This would require the interfaces to be vertical to the shear plane after re-orientation.e.1 = 9. such rotations of a viscous fluid involve minimal energy in comparison to shearing. turned through 90°. would impart mixing efficiency.000 [20]. He further reasoned that incorporating a series of mixing sections which rotated the striations into the most favourable position for the following shearing stage.000 to 42. the two being related: Interfacial area × mean striation thickness = volume of liquid 2 Referring to Spencer and Wiley [22]: growth of interfacial area in a fluid subjected to shear follows the formula: A = 1 – 2S Cos α Cos β + Cos2 α S2 Ao Where A is the new area Ao is the original area.13. 10 ..Dispersive and Distributive Mixing process. or the striation thickness. Referring to the graph in Figure 2.e. The effectiveness of this mechanism for achieving good distributive mixing was clearly demonstrated in experiments by Ng and Erwin [21] based upon the concepts described by Spencer and Wiley [22]. and S is the magnitude of shear strain α and β are angles defining the orientation of the surface to the shear strain [21]. turning elements) which reduced the overall shear from 10. Furthermore. i. but even two shearing sections reduced the necessary shear to 280. the effect is to repeatedly return from a point somewhere beyond Y and return to X.

as found in the metering section of a single screw extruder: A = S Cos α Ao The growth of interfacial area proceeds linearly with shear.) A further simplification is to assume that the plain section can be represented by two plates with a single masterbatch striation between (Figure 2. A strain of 5 units gives an interfacial area increase of 5 approximately.14). As large shear orients interfaces parallel to shearing planes. For a large strain it would be the same as Cos ∅ → 1 38 . some form of interaction with static pins is necessary for really effective mixing. (Although rows of pins work moderately well. Since there is no energy dissipation in the solid body rotation of a viscous liquid. In the equation A = S Cos α this will occur when Cos α = 1. simple shear is applied and in passing through each set of the pins the melt is turned and repositioned at right angles to the direction of shear applied between this row and the next row of pins and so on (Figure 2. We then assume that between the rows of pins. Ao If a shearing system has many mixing stages dividing the system into sections having large shear with equal magnitude.15).Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion For large unidirectional simple shear. further improvements in mixing efficiency would be attained by each mixing section rotating the fluid so that the interfaces are more favourably oriented for the next shearing stage. mixing will be: Af  S  S  =   A o  2N   N  N−1 S = 1  2 N N A S With an input of optimal orientation f =   Ao  N  N A very simplified approach is to consider a screw tip mixer with well-spaced rows of pins. Erwin’s model [20] for a mixing section with flow interruption by pins etc. considers the extruder to subject the melt to large unidirectional shear and then distort it to randomise the orientation and then subject it to further shear. the energy expended in this re-arrangement is considered as being small in comparison to the work applied in the shearing section.

39 .15 Laminar shearing interrupted by repeated turning: Details of first three stages.14 Laminar shearing interrupted by repeated cutting and turning Figure 2.Dispersive and Distributive Mixing Figure 2.

. S= R∅ W (∅ = no.8). cut these into segments. The apparatus was heated in an oven at 175° and the inner cylinder rotated to give an amount of shear strain (i. similar to Couette flow in Figure 2.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 2. If we now plot striation thickness ratio (or area ratio) between start to finish over the five rows of pins and compare with those without cutting and turning we get the graph shown in Figure 2. the area increase is now 25. and replace them. with adjoining faces radial to the annulus (Figure 2.e. and we repeat the process. If we now cut the striation into 5 equal pieces. turn them at right angles to the row of pins. alternating the black and white. it would have only increased to 10.17). The procedure was to separately mould rings of black and white polyethylene in the annulus.16 Graph of mixing versus number of shearing-cutting-turning stages. of radians turned) 40 .16. If we had continued the strain without cutting and turning. This concept was demonstrated by Ng and Erwin in experiments using coloured polyethylene sheared in an annulus formed between two concentric cylinders [21].

Figure 2.17 Erwin’s experiments using Couette flow with repeated orientations. On completion of extrusion. Experiments were carried out by Bigio and co-workers [23] to evaluate mixing using five different screw geometries in an extruder in which a transparent barrel rotated around a fixed screw. An engineering lathe supplied both the barrel rotation and drive for two syringes which pumped black and white pigmented curable silicone as two separate streams into one end of the screw. measurement of striation thickness and re-orienting were then repeated several times. Rapra Technology. Plots of Af /Ao (derived from striation thickness ratio ro/rf) against total shear strain. The blocks were re-oriented and replaced such that the interfaces were perpendicular to the shearing ring.Dispersive and Distributive Mixing Figure 2. Rapra Technology Members’ Report No. the sheared black and white annulus was cut into rectangular blocks and average striation thickness measured. The melting. and then unwound from the screw for sectioning and striation thickness measurement. Shrewsbury.46. Distributive Mixing in Plastics Extrusion. ©1980. UK. (Reproduced with permission from G.M. Gale. (known from the total amount the cylinder rotated) plotted on log scales gave close agreement to theory. shearing. 41 . the silicone was cured within the screw and barrel assembly in an oven. 1980. cooling. Rapra Technology) After cooling to solidify.

16. they would have failed to meet the carbon black mixing requirements of the relevant British Standards. Unfortunately.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 2.18 Influence of mixing pin.18). most UK extrusion companies producing black polyethylene pipes and cables used pre-compounded material. If fed with a blend of natural polymer and masterbatch. a series of straight lines of increasing slopes would have resulted. 42 . 25]. the slope changed abruptly beyond the peg to a steeper gradient of about double the initial slope (Figure 2. possibly as in Figure 2. 2. These typically showed a straight line of constant slope. had several equally spaced pins been used. Graphs were plotted for the number of striations (which is inversely proportional to striation thickness) against total average strain. The only mixing device which appeared to be both suitable and available to them. was the Stanley (ICI) ‘turbine’ mixer [24.3. It appears very likely that. This system of alternating rows of fixed and moving teeth (see Chapter 9) appeared to be far superior to rows of teeth confined to the screw [26]. which would have reduced material costs.4. When a peg was introduced part way along the screw. this system sometimes caused operating problems (see Chapter 9).2 Application of Repeated Re-orientations During the 1970s. The Maddock element (see Chapter 8) had a similar effect.

01 to 0. The stator slots were closed to form cavities by sliding the sleeve into the closely fitting barrel (Figure 2. and as the recommended carbon black particle size for good UV protection is 0.21.19). being an extension of the screw. the rotor and stator could be removed as a unit with the screw. The rotor was then pulled out of the stator sleeve. clear plasticised PVC was extruded using this mixer with a thin streak of black plasticised PVC extruded through a transducer port situated at the adapter joining the mixer to the screw. A graph of measured striation thickness against mixer stage is shown in Figure 2. The stator bore was nominally the same as the extruder. When conditions had stabilised.02 µm. extrapolation of the graph gives a figure for cavity 7 of 0. striation thickness was calculated from estimated number of striation lines per square on the microscope graticule. The black streak was extruded from a 25 mm extruder. The mixer stator. In the evaluation. The mixing unit was made with a rotor attached to the screw tip of a 38 mm extruder turning within a stator fitted as an extension to the barrel flange. These devices overcame the former’s disadvantages. the rotor cavities were wide key slots arranged in rows. the die removed and the screw jacked out of the barrel by a hydraulic ram fitted at the back of the extruder.Dispersive and Distributive Mixing The turbine system was followed by two alternative interacting mixers [27. With the arrangement of in-line interchanging cavities.20). Striation thickness would be measured using samples taken from cavity slots along the mixer. The overall objective was to produce extrusions meeting black water pipe standards using carbon black masterbatch. These mixers are discussed in detail in Chapter 9. For experimental purposes. the striations could only be detected as lines of black specks and average striation thickness could not be measured. An 8 mm strand die was fitted to the stator outlet. moved out of the mixer housing taking the stator with it. which had rotors and stators with overlapping cavities in the shape of Woodroffe key slots. However. both extruders were stopped. In cavity 6. The author evaluated this type of configuration as a potential extrusion technique to achieve good mixing by reproducing Erwin’s mixing model [29].01 µm. shearing the PVC at the cavity interfaces and the PVC from each stator cavity pushed out and labelled. and the stator consisted of a matching sleeve having overlapping rectangular slots with semi-circular ends. whilst in cavity 7. 28]. Microscopy sections 20 µm thick were then microtomed from the specimens and negative prints with 10 times magnification were prepared by putting the mounted sections in the film carrier of a photographic enlarger (Figure 2. it would be of the same order as the striation thickness derived from extrapolation. 43 .

Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 2. Gale. Rapra Technology) 44 .M. 1980. and 7th cavity row of A2-B2 mixer.46. ©1980. (Reproduced with permission from G. Rapra Technology. 1980. Figure 2. Figure 5. Rapra Technology Members’ Report No.5. Shrewsbury. 4th. UK. Distributive Mixing in Plastics Extrusion.46. Shrewsbury. Rapra Technology) Figure 2.20 Photomicrographs from 1st. Gale.19 A2-B2 mixer. Rapra Technology. (Reproduced with permission from G. Distributive Mixing in Plastics Extrusion. UK. ©1980.M. Rapra Technology Members’ Report No.

(Reproduced with permission from G. The 32 mm extruder with an axially split barrel for opening and screw removal after cooling was fed with 2 mm pellets of high-density polyethylene (HDPE): 50 wt% black and 50 wt% white. Distributive Mixing in Plastics Extrusion. a comparison of output rate against screw speed of the extruder without a mixer and with a slotted cavity mixer shows the performance to be virtually identical. 31]. as described in Chapter 9.21 Striation thickness versus mixer stage for plasticised PVC with injected striation. Photomicrographs of microtomed sections of the extrudates produced without the mixer. but in their experiments they used a mixer with a rotor and stator in which the parallel rows of slots were replaced with staggered rows of hemispherical cavities. contained the usual masterbatch streaks (Figure 2. whereas those obtained from extrudates produced with the mixer had only very faint streaks (Figure 2.23(b)). Photomicrographs of sections removed from the screw channel 45 .22. The material was natural low-density polyethylene blended with 5% of a 40% carbon black masterbatch. In Figure 2. UK. Shrewsbury. Rapra Technology Members’ Report No. Screw speed was 50 rpm and the die pressure was 16 MPa.Dispersive and Distributive Mixing Figure 2. Gale. Rapra Technology.M. 1980. A similar study was carried out by Edwards and Shales [30. Figure 7. Rapra Technology) Experiments were then carried out to compare specific output rate and masterbatch distribution.23(a)).46. ©1980.

UK. ©1980. Figure 10.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 2. Rapra Technology Members’ Report No.M. Rapra Technology) showed the presence of striations. Shrewsbury. (Reproduced with permission from G.M. 46 . Distributive Mixing in Plastics Extrusion. Rapra Technology) (a) (b) Figure 2. 1980. Shrewsbury. UK.46. Rapra Technology. Rapra Technology. Gale.23 Photomicrographs from extrudates with and without A2-B2 mixer.24). (Reproduced with permission from G. Figure 13.22 Output rate and melt temperature versus screw speed for 38 mm extruder fitted with the A2-B2 mixer.46. whilst microtomed sections taken from the mixer cavities showed a steady reduction in striation thickness until undetectable after passage through four cavity rows of the mixer (Figure 2. Distributive Mixing in Plastics Extrusion. ©1980. Rapra Technology Members’ Report No. 1980. Gale.

the mixer was dismantled and the silicone castings were sectioned and flow patterns examined. and a stream of the same elastomer containing pigment to provide a model striation. was injected at a constant rate through a hollow needle into a first row stator cavity.W. The mixer was mounted vertically.Dispersive and Distributive Mixing Figure 2. 2. 47 . Shales. 1989. [PhD thesis]) An investigation into the mixing mechanism within this type of mixer was carried out at Rapra [32]. (Adapted with permission from R.26 and Chapter 9). The unit had three cavity rows in the stator overlapping two complete and two half cavity rows at entry and exit in the rotor. University of Bradford UK. Mixing of Thermoplastics in Single Screw Rextruders. Observations were recorded on still and video cameras. Each row had six cavities equally spaced circumferentially.24 Photomicrographs showing improving mix quality over five cavity rows of a cavity transfer mixer using HDPE. with a room temperature curing transparent silicone elastomer pumped in at a controlled rate at the bottom. Department of Chemical Engineering. using a device with an aluminium rotor within a transparent acrylic stator having a similar overlapping cavity arrangement to that used by Edwards and Shales (See Figures 2.25. and after overnight curing of the silicone elastomer.

The continuously injected striation travelled around the cavity in the direction shown in Figure 2. Progression through the mixer is represented diagrammatically in Figure 2.M.25 Model Cavity Transfer Mixer with transparent acrylic stator. © 1984. Gale. 48 . Shrewsbury. Shawbury. Figure 8. Rapra Members Report No. Development of the Cavity Transfer Mixer for Plastics Extrusion.104.28. which depicts the cross sectional plane of part of the stator with the rotor cavities passing in an anti-clockwise direction.27. but this simplified picture gives a good representation of the overall pattern. Both true cross-sectional representation and flow paths are very complex. Rapra Technology.1.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 2. (Reproduced with permission from G. 1984. A globule injected from a hypodermic syringe was quickly transformed into a striation when the rotor turned through a comparatively small angle. The lands between the cavities are numbered round in a clockwise direction. UK. Rapra Technology) Colour injection at different depths showed that laminar flow took place which was generally similar to that occurring in the channel of an extruder screw.

26 Model Cavity Transfer Mixer with half acrylic stator removed to show aluminium rotor.Dispersive and Distributive Mixing Figure 2. 1984. © 1984.2.M. Figure 8. Development of the Cavity Transfer Mixer for Plastics Extrusion.104. (Reproduced with permission from G. © 1984. 1984. Shawbury. Development of the Cavity Transfer Mixer for Plastics Extrusion. Gale. Rapra Technology) Figure 2. Rapra Technology.3. Shrewsbury. Shawbury. Rapra Members Report No.27 Flow streamlines in a stator cavity.M. Rapra Technology) 49 . Gale. (Reproduced with permission from G. Rapra Members Report No. UK. UK. Shrewsbury. Figure 8.104. Rapra Technology.

Shawbury. Gale.28 Diagrammatic representation of mixing action. Rapra Members Report No.M.8.104.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 2. Figure 8. Development of the Cavity Transfer Mixer for Plastics Extrusion. (Reproduced with permission G. © 1984. Rapra Technology) 50 . 1984. Rapra Technology. UK. Shrewsbury.

Following the cutting and transfer actions. cutting and transfer as for the original single striation.29 Formation of multiple striations. UK. they are by then broad ribbons. the centre of the striation moving at right angles with respect to the ends.9. Shawbury. (Reproduced with permission from G. Shrewsbury.104. Development of the Cavity Transfer Mixer for Plastics Extrusion. The repetitive action produces a stacking effect.Dispersive and Distributive Mixing Figure 2.30 which shows stator cavities in three successive rows. 1984. being influenced by laminar flow within the rotor cavity and stator cavities and lands which it passes. It is then carried around inside the rotor. such that packed groups are then subjected to laminar shear. where the stacking and shearing at right 51 . Figure 2. Although represented in two dimensions as striations. so that the striation (or ribbon) becomes folded. the striations are now at right angles to the laminar shear direction.29 and 2. This progression is depicted in Figures 2. Rapra Technology. Rapra Technology) The injected striation travels in a clockwise direction around the surface of the cavity and then crosses over and turns sharply in the direction of rotation of the rotor.31 is a photomicrograph of a sectioned casting showing striations leaving cavity two for a rotational speed of 5. Figure 8. It is then cut off into small segments and deposited in stacked layers in a stator cavity of the next row along. © 1984. Gale.5 rpm. Rapra Members Report No.M.

Figure 8. Rapra Technology. the complex geometry of the moving boundaries makes a detailed analysis of the flow field a difficult task according to Wang and Manas-Zloczower [33]. Shrewsbury. Shawbury. 1984. Reducing cavity depth increased shear stresses. The computer simulation showed very good agreement with the experimental results. Y. A further contribution to mixing is the folding back of the cut ends of the striations by the passing land which produces a pattern of ‘hooks’ at the ends of the ‘stacked ribbons’. In this paper (following seven earlier ones) [34-40]. Similar patterns were found in cavity 3 for a number of rotational speeds.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 2. Rapra Technology) angles can be clearly seen. UK. Rapra Members Report No. Figure 2. (Reproduced with permission from G.104. © 1984. the 52 . more so for the stator than the rotor.M.1% carbon black added to the silicone flow simulation media was made with a camcorder.32 shows Shear stress and elongational flow component versus cavity depth. Development of the Cavity Transfer Mixer for Plastics Extrusion. a model CTM was used with silicone fluid viewed through a transparent window. Particle tracking of the 0. Although the CTM is geometrically very simple from a machining aspect. Gale.30 Progress of striation through mixer.10.

115.104. Wang and I. ©1996.31 Striations leaving cavity No. 2. © 1984. Carl Hanser Verlag) 53 . 11. Development of the Cavity Transfer Mixer for Plastics Extrusion.2 at 2 rpm. Figure 8.32 Average shear stresses and y values for different designs. UK. Manas-Zloczower.M. Rapra Technology) Figure 2. (Reproduced with permission from C.C. Figure 7. Shrewsbury.Dispersive and Distributive Mixing Figure 2. Rapra Members Report No. 1996. International Polymer Processing. Gale.12. 1984. (Reproduced with permission from G. Shawbury. Rapra Technology.

is that larger but fewer cavities will mix as well as smaller but more numerous cavities. ideally at right angles. the 0. orientation of striations formed from melted pellets may well result in these striations persisting through the extruder and into the product. pass each other. 3) Although such mixing is available from the point of melting to the screw tip. nor was 0. Neither were dispersed in #1 (deep cavities). 42]. It appeared that shallower cavities on both rotor and stator had better potential for dispersive mixing. 54 .4. will achieve good distributive mixing. The former arrangement minimises pressure drops across the mixer. An interesting feature (as demonstrated in Chapter 8). The overall picture is that the repeated shearing and repositioning required by the theory appears to be present within the repeating complex patterns as the hemispherical cavities. (together with a network of lands).4 g/cm3 and a device (#2) with 10 mm cavities in both rotor and stator compared with device #1 (deep cavities).3 density agglomerate was dispersed in #2 by tail formation and erosion as described in Chapter 14. To investigate dispersive mixing. 5) Mixing devices such as peg mixers will contribute to this mixing requirement.3 and 0. densities 0. ranged between 0 for pure rotation and 1 for pure elongation.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion elongational flow component. Earlier theoretical treatments of this type of mixer have been made by Lin and Bevis [41. However. and hence. it follows that masterbatches will be necessary for good dispersive mixing of pigments. and Bromilow and Hulme [44]. 4) Interrupting the laminar shear mixing with regular turning. 2. 2 mm spheres of ‘fluffy’ carbon black were moulded into ‘model agglomerates’. flame retardants and fillers and so on.3. 2) Laminar shear mixing will occur which will provide distributive mixing. de Jong [43].4 in #2 (shallow cavities).3 Summary of Mixing Achievable in a Single Screw Extruder The statements listed next summarise the fundamentally limited distributive mixing of a conventional extruder and the achievable advanced level required to meet specific technical and aesthetic requirements at economic output rates: 1) Shear stresses will be comparatively low. and may be adequate for many products.

S. 7) The mechanisms can be alternating fixed and moving teeth. Industrial and Engineering Chemistry. 1004. Series A. Bunge. F. Journal of the Oil Colour Chemists’ Association. Cogswell. George Godwin. 36. [MSc thesis] G. 1. 73. Proceedings of the Royal Society. Chemistry and Technology.Y. Imperial College. London. 619. 40. Colwell. 5. W.J. Journal of the Oil Colour Chemists’ Association. Gale. 55 . Schlumpf.G. M. Journal of the Oil Colour Chemists’ Association.422. H-H. 1974. 9. no assignee. Marcel Dekker. Ed.E. 1973.. 56. 1981. 12. 155. Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemical Technology. Elmendorp in Mixing in Polymer Processing. 1963.J. 15.Dispersive and Distributive Mixing 6) For complete elimination of striations (as may be required for polyethylene pipes and cables). V. T. Smith. J. 1934. NY. 3. 7. Nature. 1986. 126. Wan Idris. 1973. 1978. Smith. Kunststoffe. Kunststoffe.G.J. Freakley and W. Smith. 1979. 4. 2003. H. or overlapping fixed and moving cavities. USA. SPE Technical Papers. P. C. 8. 2.J. 9. UK. 1214. 56. M. 6. Journal of the Oil Colour Chemists’ Association.N. 165. 5. 5493. 511. References 1. 98.M. 14.R. 3. 12. but overall will be justified by reduced extrusion costs for products where very good mixing is necessary. 146. 55. 13. Bolen and R. 4.J. Polymer Melt Rheology. 73. 1975. New York. 1983. 52. UK. Such systems will be more expensive than most screw mixing elements.327. 1973.V. 56. inventor.K.T. London. Mason. Ammons. Theodorou. 501. 57. 11. M. 1958. Kao and S. 4. M. 253. G. Smith. GB 2. 134. 1991. the required mixing mechanism can be achieved by using interacting stationary and moving parts. Taylor. 10. Rauwendaal. Rubber.

20. P. Gale. Development of the Cavity Transfer Mixer for Plastics Extrusion.M. 25. M. Polymer Processing.F. 25. 1981.W. T. Erwin. G. 1991. 133.2. [PhD thesis] 32. Rapra Technology. L. Polymer Engineering and Science. 29. UK. 5. C. Mixing of Thermoplastics in Single Screw Extruders.104. London.. 23. L. R. Metal Box. 1962.M. D. Distributive Mixing in Plastics Extrusion.. 6. 212. Conference . Wiley. inventor. 1951. Shales. J. L. 56 . 1972. Shawbury. 1982. Chapter 12. UK. T. Shales in Proceedings of a Rapra Technology Ltd. 1957. Erwin. Ed. 305. assignee.Y.M. 1986. John Wiley & Sons.W. Department of Chemical Engineering. 1989.253. 1985. US 3.849. Shrewsbury. 1980.S. 11. Chapter 12.20. assignee. Smith in Proceedings of a Plastics and Rubber Institute Conference Polymer Extrusion 2. assignee. inventor. John Wiley & Sons. Polymer Engineering and Science. inventor. UK. 31. 21. Marcel Dekker. 22. Shawbury.185. GB 787. Barmag. Shawbury. London. Journal of Colloid Science. 1979. USA. 12. Martin. G. Gailus.764. UK. Edwards and R. 30. 1978.I.W. NY. Principles of Polymer Processing. New York. inventor.D. J. Shrewsbury. 19.771. Rapra Members Report No. Shrewsbury. GB 843. Gale. Erwin in Mixing in Polymer Processing. New York. Polymer Engineering and Science. Rauwendaal. Spencer and P.G. Gogos. 1984.A. K. Gerber. Renk. assignee. G. Erwin and D.174. 1962. ICI Ltd. UK. Stanley. Tadmor and C.Making the Most of the Cavity Transfer Mixer. NY. Chapter 1. McKelvey. 1978. Ng and L. 18. Bigio. 21. Boyd. 7. Paper No. 24. 1955. 4. University of Bradford. 26. UK.. Rapra Members Report No. 572. 27. USA. Paper No. Z. 17.46. Rapra Technology. 18. 28. Kunststofftechnik.M.A. K. p. J. Stanley. US 4. R.3.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 16. ICI Ltd.

. 29. Polymer Engineering and Science. 1989. 1987. 43.J. Yang and I. 1992. Lin. 57 . 39. 44. International Polymer Processing. 1988. Shawbury. T. 1989. 146.14.J. 133. 115.H. 1987. S. International Polymer Processing. 1224. C. 1989. 1. Yang and I. H. 11.Dispersive and Distributive Mixing 33. H. 7. 9. 1994.T. Bevis. Manas-Zloczower. Bromilow and A.Making the Most of the Cavity Transfer Mixer.3. J. de Jong in Proceedings of a Rapra Technology Ltd. Polymer Engineering and Science. Manas-Zloczower. 35. Cheng and I. 7. 1411. C. 35. Manas-Zloczower. J. 1992. Plastics Rubber and Processing Applications. Paper No. 1059. 34.M. UK. Manas-Zloczower. 1996. p. 701 37. Shrewsbury. Cheng and I.Y. Manas-Zloczower. 1986.Making the Most of the Cavity Transfer Mixer. Plastics and. Seminar . UK. J. Rubber Processing and Applications. 29. Manas-Zloczower.C. 42. Wang and I. 44.J. Hulme.C..Y. 32. Wang and I. 40. 29. 36. 34. 8. Wang and I. 2. 195. Polymer Engineering Science. 1994. 41. Journal of Applied Polymer Engineering Science: Applied Polymer Symposium. Lin and M. Seminar . International Polymer Process. 1. 38. Shawbury. Manas-Zloczower.C. E. Proceedings of a Rapra Technology Ltd. C. Cheng and I.J. Manas-Zloczower. Shrewsbury. Polymer Engineering and Science.H. S.

Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 58 .

extruders of many other products should be concerned with the quality of distributive mixing of masterbatch as this may well effect many aspects of technical performance. appearance and cost. but if dispersive mixing is the limitation. The fire test failure described in Chapter 1 is a good example. filler. mixing can be divided into dispersive and distributive mixing. it is normal for cable and pipe producers to carry out mixing quality testing on their products to the relevant standards as single screw extruders have inherently limited distributive mixing limitations as well as being generally poor dispersive mixers. Examination on a fine enough scale will observe the mixture components. raising screw speed to increase output rate may delay completion of melting such that the mixing efficiency is impaired to the point where the extrudate is unacceptable.1 The Need for Measurement of Mixing As explained previously. particles over a particular size and/ or exceeding a specified concentration will determine the outcome. with distributive mixing problems producing striations. For example. striations will be the observed criteria. Lumpy and uneven surfaces may also be observed. 59 . Replacement of failed cables and pipes can incur very high costs. and other solid additive particles. These are most likely to exist either in the form of striations or as gritty particles. in Chapter 2. Laboratory studies may require the progress of mixing through the various stages of the extruder to be followed such that measurement of mixing achieved at a number of points will be necessary.3 Measurement of Mixing 3. In addition to pipe and cable producers. In most cases. The quality of the supplied compound or masterbatch depends on the former with the extrudate quality dependent on the latter being achieved to the required degree during single screw extrusion of the final product. In product extrusion it may also be necessary to assess how much better or worse mixing has become as a result of making changes to the operating conditions or to the machine itself. Dispersive mixing problems are largely manifested by the presence of agglomerated pigment. Although materials suppliers will carry out their own quality tests.

1 Relationship between striation thickness and interfacial area. Figure 3. but other criteria may apply. resistance to weathering. It can be used for both following stages of mixing of samples from the screw channel and assessing mixing achieved in the extrudate. for example. microscopic appearance or measured properties. With their progressive thinning during passage through the extruder until ideally they are no longer readily observable under a microscope. surface friction. As mentioned in Chapter 2.1. anti-block and so on.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion The criteria might be visual appearance. and the interfacial area between the two components is a measure of the degree of mixing. Examples of all these were included in Chapter 1. measurement of striation thickness is a practical alternative. 10-4 m is approximately the resolution of the human eye [1]. For such practical measurements. Striation thickness can be measured using microtomed sections examined under a microscope using transmitted light. This would be difficult to measure but for the formation of striations from masterbatches and mixtures of coloured pellets. striation thickness is directly related to interfacial area [2]. fire resistance. The thickness can be measured manually using a 60 . the simple relationship being: Ao = 1 S S is defined as one half of the repeat unit shown in Figure 3. 3.2 Striation Thickness Measurement Mixing during single screw extrusion produces layered structures.

3 Agglomerate Measurement As discussed in the previous chapters. there are a number of quality standards. but is suitable for detecting agglomerates. produced using a static mixer.Measurement of Mixing microscope with a graticule eye piece or by using enlarged photomicrographs. in particular. but is inadequate to quantify small changes or deal with wide variations. but can also be used for coloured pipes and cables where agglomerates can cause electrical failures. The tests can be divided between those that examine thin samples. The data was processed via a microcomputer interface into indices assessing mixing. and those which use extrusion filtering. When it is considered necessary to test incoming materials or compare samples from different suppliers. the microtomed sample of an extrudate (Figure 11. Benkreira and co-workers [3] have described the method they used on samples removed from the extruder screw channel after rapid cooling to freeze the molten polymer. The system picked out the same or darker grey levels than a chosen level. This requires matching the specimens’ appearance with those in the standards. These are mainly for carbon black in polyethylenes used in water pipes and cables. 3. as a specified number of agglomerates under a certain size is permissible The specimen can be a microtomed section or a tiny piece pressed out between glass microscope slides on a hot plate. would involve a long and tedious operation to produce a representative striation thickness from this photomicrograph.1 Microscopy Examination of Thin Samples The most common visual assessment for carbon black is made by comparing thin samples under a microscope with a set of photomicrographs in the standard [4].4).3. be required for carbon black masterbatch. This system is sufficiently accurate to measure comparatively large changes in striation thickness. Image analysis is a less judgemental process for producing a representative value. mainly at the stage where the polymer had just melted. Samples cut from the screw helix were microtomed in sections 20 µm thick and examined under a 100x magnification microscope using transmitted light. For example. 3. in this case striation thickness of the minor component. single screw extruders are not good dispersive mixers. and therefore reliance is placed on suppliers to provide well dispersed additives in compounds and masterbatches. 61 . Image analysis was then used to detect grey levels over a range of 256 ranging from completely black to completely white. The hot pressing (sometimes referred to as the ‘pinhead’ test) tends to smear striations. which may.

3. 420 µm screens and a breaker plate. Agglomerate counts by image analysis are possible on microtomed sections and on polymer streams passing a window [6]. 3. Assessment is by laying a film sample on a light box and counting the number of visible agglomerates per unit area. After extruding 640 g ± 10 g and purging the 62 .3 Screen Pack Filtration Test An alternative approach is to determine the extent of the presence of agglomerates by extrusion filtration. 4) A particulate blend of natural LDPE and 2 wt% carbon black powder. 2) A compound of commercial origin rejected by the supplier as unsatisfactory but supplied as a sample for comparison.3. For carbon black. Comparisons were made to BS3412:1976 (superseded by BS 3412:1992 [9]) using a 25 mm extruder equipped with a 150 µm aperture screen supported by 250 µm.3.1 Agglomerate Retention on a Wire Mesh Screen This can be illustrated by describing comparisons made for four compositions containing low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and carbon black as used at the time for pipes meeting standards for cold water services [8]. 2) Measurement of pressure build-up due to clogging of the mesh [7]. which may also view unrepresentative areas. Measurement is by one of two techniques: 1) A microscope count of the number of agglomerates retained on the wire mesh screen pack.2 Agglomerate Count for Blown Film Both compounds and masterbatches containing carbon black or pigments.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 3. The extruded materials can be compounds or masterbatches diluted with natural polymer.3. can be assessed for agglomerates using film samples prepared by extrusion film blowing. These were as follows: 1) A compound of commercial origin supplied as satisfactory. There are two techniques based on extrusion of a fixed quantity of compound or masterbatch through a screen pack. This eliminates the very small scale of examination and human judgement involved in the microscopy tests. a final concentration of 1% masterbatch has been recommended [5]. 3. 3) A pellet blend of natural LDPE and 5 wt% of a carbon black masterbatch.

Rapra Members Report No. 45.4 and clearly illustrate the differences recorded in Table 3. Shrewsbury.Measurement of Mixing black from the machine with natural polymer. 1980.1.8. UK. Figure 3.1. ©1980.0 4. Rapra Technology) 63 .2 to 3. The number of agglomerates retained on the 150 µm screen was counted using an 8× magnification microscope. Penny. The results are shown in Table 3.0 4. The screens for the satisfactory and unsatisfactory compounds.1 Screen pack extrusion test for agglomerates on four materials Polymer Composition Unsatisfactory compound Satisfactory compound Masterbatch Dry blend Screw speed Motor Melt temperature (rpm) current (amp) (°C) 40 40 40 40 5.2 Filter screen showing agglomerates for an unsatisfactory compound. The standard required there to be no more than 70. Investigation of a Roller Bearing Mixer for Extrusion Compounding of Carbon Black with Polyolefines.1.0 5. and photomicrographs in Figures 3. the strand die and screen/breaker plate assembly were removed.2–3. Rapra Technology. and diluted masterbatch are shown in Figures 3. Table 3. Shawbury. (Reproduced with permission from M.0 213 216 219 215 Agglomerate count 120-140 23 91 Not measurable Figure 3.

2.45. Rapra Members Report No. UK. ©1980. Shawbury.4. Rapra Technology. ©1980. (Reproduced with permission from M. Penny. Rapra Technology. Figure 3. Shrewsbury. (Reproduced with permission from M. UK.4 Filter screen showing agglomerates for a nearly satisfactory masterbatch/natural polymer pellet blend. Rapra Technology) 64 .45. Figure 3. Rapra Members Report No. Penny. Rapra Technology) Figure 3. Roller Bearing Mixer for Extrusion of Carbon Black with Polyolefines.3 Filter screen showing agglomerates for a satisfactory compound.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 3. Shrewsbury. Shawbury. Roller Bearing Mixer for Extrusion of Carbon Black with Polyolefines.

45.Measurement of Mixing Figure 3. Shrewsbury. ©1980. Roller Bearing Mixer for Extrusion of Carbon Black with Polyolefines. Rapra Members Report No. (Reproduced with permission from M. Figure 3. UK.45. ©1980. Rapra Technology. Rapra Members Report No.5 Cross section of a strand extruded from a satisfactory compound.6 Cross section of a strand extruded from a masterbatch/natural polymer blend. Shawbury. UK. Roller Bearing Mixer for Extrusion of Carbon Black with Polyolefines. Penny. Figure 3.5. Shawbury. Rapra Technology) 65 . Shrewsbury. (Reproduced with permission from M. Rapra Technology) Figure 3. Penny. Rapra Technology.6.

UK. (Reproduced with permission from M.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 3. Figure 3.8 Satisfactory compound section based on a microtomed x100 photomicrograph. (Reproduced with permission from M. Shrewsbury. UK. Penny. Rapra Members Report No.45. Roller Bearing Mixer for Extrusion of Carbon Black with Polyolefines. Roller Bearing Mixer for Extrusion of Carbon Black with Polyolefines. Rapra Technology. Shawbury. Penny. Shrewsbury. ©1980. Rapra Technology) Figure 3.45. Shawbury. ©1980.6. Rapra Technology.7 Cross section of a strand extruded from a carbon black/natural polymer dry blend. Rapra Technology) 66 . Figure 3. Rapra Members Report No.8.

Shawbury. The satisfactory compound produced a strand with a uniform appearance. but no agglomerates. Figures 3. Figure 3.9 Masterbatch natural polymer blend section based on a microtomed ×100 photomicrograph.9 shows the masterbatch plus virgin polymer blend has unpigmented striations. (Reproduced with permission from M. and Figure 3.10. whilst the masterbatch plus virgin polymer blend had numerous striations. one or two may be hidden within the black layers. However.5-3. Figure 3.8 shows a solitary small agglomerate and no striations for the satisfactory compound. Shrewsbury. Rapra Members Report No.5 is for the satisfactory compound. Penny.7 the carbon black plus virgin polymer dry-blend. Rapra Technology) 67 . Rapra Technology.45.9 have been reproduced from the original ×100 magnification photomicrographs prepared according to the British Standards test. Roller Bearing Mixer for Extrusion of Carbon Black with Polyolefines. demonstrating the lack of distributive mixing.7. The dry-blend with its numerous agglomerates and striations clearly demonstrated a complete lack of dispersive and distributive mixing as expected. UK. whilst Figure 3. Figure 3. Figure 3. ©1980.Measurement of Mixing The photomicrographs of the cross sections of extruded strands produced without the screen-pack are shown in Figures 3.8 and Figure 3.6 is the one containing masterbatch. They illustrate the very different results from the three different methods of incorporating carbon black. Figure 3.

the melt pressure at the barrel exit will steadily rise as a result of screen blockage by the agglomerates. Consequently. (Even dandruff has been found in optically clear film). some of which will be more sensitive to extruder mixing performance than others. incompatible polymeric ‘bits’ from scrap granulation. whether to recognised standards or in-house specifications. or (more likely). impact and electrical failures.2 Pressure Build-up Caused by Agglomerate Retention on a Wire Mesh Screen (Filter-Pressure Value) During the straining of agglomerates from masterbatches and compounds using a screen for subsequent visual examination and agglomerate counts under a microscope. A disadvantage is that the increasing melt pressures may give an improved result. Technical specifications are normally covered by standards testing. To eliminate this problem. the first suspect is the masterbatch or compound supplier. (Note that it can often save time and overall costs by having unrecognised particles chemically analysed. possibly caused by long coextrusion feed pipes and dead corners in film dies (see Chapter 14). As a first step.3.) 68 . An advantage is the elimination of judgmental microscope counts. A concern here is to recognise the extruder’s mixing contribution to achieving. This filter-pressure value test starts and finishes with extrusion of the matrix polymer without masterbatch [7]. This may be a useful method for re-assurance that mix quality with regard to dispersion equals or exceeds a level known to be representative for that particular product. it may be advisable to check whether the undispersed specks are one of the following: 1) Dirt or other contaminants such as packing material. 3.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 3. plus an overall time saving. the failure to meet standards such as fire retardancy and impact tests described in Chapter 1. Pigmented gels can easily be mistaken for agglomerates. the recorded melt pressure after extrusion of a fixed amount of material will be a measure of the quality of dispersion of the carbon black or pigment. DIN-EN 13900-5 [10] was issued in which a gear pump was introduced between the extruder and screen pack to provide a consistent back pressure for the extruder. Burnt and degraded polymers 2) Gels due to oxidation during extrusion.4 Influences of Mixing on Product Properties The incorporation of additives is carried out to achieve a technical specification. Infra red spectroscopy can often identify very small specks and can also discriminate between carbon black agglomerates and black polymer gels. Where agglomerates appear to be causing. for example.3.

G. 126. John Wiley & Sons. BS ISO 18553. 1982. Cabot Corporation. 3. 3. 8 and 9. Yu. 2. Indianapolis. Shrewsbury. Although these particular pictures required considerable experience and care. 1962. Shales and M. Chapter 12. 5. UK. MA. Shawbury. D. Esseghir and C. Benkreira. M. IN. the techniques used (which were developed by Ivan James) have been included as an Appendix at the end of the book.W. little is published on the preparation of samples for optical microscopy. p. References 1. Technical Report S-131.F. USA. Plastics Technology. 1980. the same general techniques were learned and applied by a number of University students on industrial placements at Rapra who were involved in much of the practical extrusion work on mixing described in Chapters 2. R. J. It also has an advantage in that comparatively large areas can be viewed as illustrated in the pipe samples in Chapter 1. 45. 2002. Polymer Processing. Schut. McKelvey. 45. Methods for the Assessment of Pigment or Carbon Black Dispersion in Polyolefin Pipes.5 Preparation of Thin Sections for Optical Microscopy Assessment Although polymer blending papers often include a description of the preparation of samples for electron microscopy. UK. Edwards. agglomerate sizes described in pipe and cable standards etc. Optical microscopy has sufficient magnification to measure the width of thin masterbatch striations. 7.Measurement of Mixing 3. 51. J. Penny.W. Carbon Black Dispersion.M. 1989. For these reasons. 2. UK. 8. 4. H. M. 2005. 7. Investigation of a Roller Bearing Mixer for Extrusion Compounding of Carbon Black with Polyolefines. Gogos in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC ‘96. Billerica. London. Smith in Proceedings of a Plastics and Rubber Institute Conference Polymer Extrusion 2. 1992. Paper No. 6. Fittings and Compounds. J.136. 1996. International Polymer Processing.20. London. Rapra Members Report No. 69 . 7. USA. 7. Rapra Technology.

70 . 10. BS 3412:1992. 1992. DIN EN 13900-5. Pigments and Extenders – Methods of Dispersion and Assessment of Dispersibility in Plastics – Part 5: Determination by Filter Pressure Value Test. 2005. Methods of Specifying General Purpose Polyethylene Materials for Moulding and Extrusion.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 9.

4 Single Screw Extruder Stages: Effects on Mixing The continuous progress of plastics materials from hopper to die involves a number of stages. • Laminar shear flow in the melt zones of the screw may be inadequate to prevent striations • Late completion of melting gives less opportunity for mixing 71 . Such a journey has been described by Tadmor and Gogos [1]. This covers the influence of each stage on mixing whilst extra devices which can be added to the end of the extruder to raise the overall level of mixing are included in Chapters 9-11. compression/melting.1.3 provide a ‘roadmap’ for this journey. The overall situation in this figure is: • There is no mixing in the feed zone • Melting is a prerequisite for mixing to occur • Un-melted material can break away and float downstream in the melt such that it tends to flow down channel in an un-melted state and may remain unmixed. and ties together Chapters 5 to 11. showing the stages and actions performed by the extruder. 4. 2) There is an unrolled screw channel and a block diagram of the same extruder. pellet conveying. Figures 4. metering and pumping. 1) Figure 4. all of which can influence how well mixed the extrusion will be. occur in the product.2 and 4.1 is a diagram of a conventional single screw extruder and shows the following stages: hopper feed. These are particularly relevant to the extrusion of products in a situation where unacceptable laminar striations due to inadequate mixing. These various stages form the backbone of Chapter 4 to Chapter 8 in which the polymer’s journey is followed through the extruder.

72 Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 4. .1 Stages affecting melting and mixing: conventional extruder.

.Single Screw Extruder Stages: Effects on Mixing 73 Figure 4.2 Stages affecting melting and mixing: extruder with barrier screw plus shearing and mixing elements.

3 Guide to chapter numbers for extruder functions affecting mixing.74 Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 4. .

but with the following additions: 1) A barrier flight screw to control rate of melting. Z. It will also provide some distributive mixing.G. References 1. The unrolled screw channel and block diagram of this extruder shows the stages and actions performed by the extruder with the added components. the additional melting device would be unnecessary. 10 and 11) that are considered specialist items ideally suited for specific applications. several rows of pins. 1979. Principles of Polymer Processing. USA. NY. Although it could be argued that with an efficient melting screw. Additional to the controlled melting. It shows the extruder again.Single Screw Extruder Stages: Effects on Mixing Figure 4. this combination appears to be widely used. Figure 4.2 also shows the additional mechanisms featured in the block diagram. is the replacement of the slow laminar shear mixing with repeated re-positioning and laminar shearing by the pin mixer. The range and effectiveness of such mixing devices is very wide and described in Chapter 8. John Wiley & Sons.3 provides a guide to the following chapters and also refers to the less widely used but effective mixing devices (covered by Chapters 9. In this example. 3) A distributive mixing device. two or all three of these features might be used. It should be noted that any one.1. New York.2 provides a guide to various operations and associated components which can be used to reduce or prevent the mixing shortcomings illustrated in Figures 4. 2) A barrier element to ensure no un-melted polymer goes any further than this point. Figure 4. Tadmor and C. Gogos. 75 .

Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 76 .

77 . As a result. shapes.5 Pellet Handling: A Source of Variable Composition 5. This is not surprising when considering that masterbatch pellets can cover a range of densities depending on the quantity and specific gravity of the additive. the constituents will separate under certain unfavourable conditions. The basic problem is that the feed material can be a blend of several materials in which the particulate form consists of a range of sizes.1 Introduction The particulate properties of polymers.9-0.5 g/cm3) compared with typical polyolefine densities of about 0. Although no incorporation of additives in the polymer will occur until melting commences in the screw channel.g. no matter how well the particulate blending operations has been performed. see the book on this subject by Butters [1].96. barium sulfate (density of 4. densities and surface friction. e. blends and masterbatches can affect any or all of the following operations: • Bulk handling. Such changes can cause product non-conformity ranging from changes in colour to varying technical performance such as flame retardancy. it is useful to appreciate that additive concentration may vary due to behaviour of the feed materials.. including silo emptying • Auger metering • Particulate blending • Hopper flow • Screw channel filling • Screw conveying: 1) In barrels with smooth feed zones 2) In barrels with grooved feed zones For potential problems and solutions in bulk handling and storage of plastics materials.

height and angle of the hopper itself. e. The surface of the particulate materials in the hopper will be approximately level and fall at the same rate from centre to the sides. An angle greater than approximately 60° will normally give ‘mass flow’.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Furthermore. but both features can be combined.. 5.1 Mass flow hopper. output rate may vary if the height of material has wide variations with time.2 Hopper Design Whatever handling systems are used. and less will give ‘non-mass flow’. Figures 5. The other variables are the length of screw exposed. i.4 show a number of variations. Figure 5.1 Mass Flow Hopper This design (Figure 5. Incorporation of up to 40% of the latter may be necessary to meet packaging thermoforming economics.g.. Pressure at the outlet will depend on the height of material in the hopper.2.e. with irregular granulated platelets of edge trim and skeletal scrap from thermoforming. two opposite sides may have completely different angles. 78 . like water in a tank.1-5. and the cross section.. 25 kg of pellets are tipped in from a bag when the hopper is almost empty. the surface properties will be influenced by additives ranging from slippery waxes and slip additive for packaging films.g. the final dimension is limited to the screw diameter. The angle of the sides defines whether the hopper is a ‘mass flow’ or a ‘non-mass flow’ hopper. to sticky additives for pallet and silage wrap films. 5. The shape and size of the particulates may be a mixture of strand cut and die face cut pellets. Consequently.1) is characterised by ‘first in will be first out’. some sort of hopper is necessary to feed polymer pellets into an extruder and in one direction at least. e.

2).3). very irregular shaped material and some powders may result in ‘rat-holing’ in which material flows only from the centre leaving a vertical tubular hole with the bulk left stuck to the hopper wall (Figure 5.2 Non-mass flow figure. Figure 5. As the material level drops in the centre. these hoppers can be much lower and the pressure at the outlet will be less dependent on the height of the material (Figure 5.Pellet Handling: A source of Variable Composition As a hopper containing comparatively large amounts of material will need to be high. pellets rolling inwards down the slopes can easily segregate depending on density. so that they collect in higher concentrations at the centre. Figure 5. shape and possibly friction coefficient. Sticky materials. 79 . The material flows from the sides to the centre.2. 5.2 Non-mass Flow Hopper With sides less than approximately 60°. it may require extra support and it will be harder to load from ground level.3 ‘Ratholing’.

However. they can more easily accommodate a stirrer to break up any sticking or bridging particulates.5 Stirrer. as a round hole is limited to the screw diameter. A round hole in the extruder barrel makes the hopper easier and cheaper to fit. which may collapse and reform. Figure 5.2.4 Round hopper.3 Round Hoppers Round hoppers (Figure 5. causing extruder output variations.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 5. being round. but this may reduce or increase risks of particle segregation. 80 . The inverted cone shape and relatively small round outlet may cause bridging due to formation of a stable arch. They are less likely to have ledges and corners and will be easier to clean. However.5). depending on the nature of the feed materials (Figure 5. it may restrict pellet discharge and encourage bridging with sticky or flaky materials.4) look neat and are possibly of slightly lower cost. Figure 5.

5.Pellet Handling: A source of Variable Composition 5. 81 .6) is no longer round. e. a tangential entry.2.g. This is possibly less likely with round hoppers.2. Figure 5. and the length can be greater than the screw diameter.5 Ledges and Corners Joints between hopper and extruder and also in a sliding or swivelling ‘cut-off’ can result in ledges and corners where pellets may collect and fall out at some future date (Figure 5.7 Effect of ledge. pellets will pass into the screw channel much more freely with less opportunity for bridging. A rectangular extruder opening can have various geometries to encourage channel filling and conveying. Figure 5..6 Rectangular hopper.4 Square and Rectangular Hoppers As the discharge opening of square or round hoppers (Figure 5.7).

before becoming completely uniformly blue again. The answer was to vacuum load the natural pellets into a proprietary dosing/mixing device mounted on the extruder.3.1 Example 1 Following development of a pilot production line for extrusion of optical fibre ducting using a halogen-free flame retarded polyolefin compound. 5.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 5. but eventually it was satisfactory. By dedicating individual drums to a particular colour. the line was switched to extruding blue pipe using pre-compounded material. It was evident that 82 . over a period of about half an hour. It was found that the steel drum. The ducting colour became very variable and it was found that the colour masterbatch pellets were separating from the main mix.3.3 Composition Variations The most serious is probably the separation of additive pellets during flow from side to centre in a non-mass flow hopper. and cleaning was unnecessary. Colour masterbatches were pre-blended with the unpigmented compound by batch tumbling weighed amounts. behaved for periods as a non-mass flow hopper with yellow masterbatch pellets separating around the pipe entry until a point was reached where an accumulation of yellow masterbatch pellets was loaded. However. The line ran satisfactorily with several colours until an orange masterbatch was used. The solution was to add the masterbatch from a small volumetric doser into a length of copper pipe fitted inside the hopper with a small funnel at the top and terminating just above the extruder screw (Figure 5.3. with the vacuum loader pipe pushed down inside the pellets. potential cross-contamination of colours was minimised. (A ‘non-mass flow’ hopper was being used).8).2 Example 2 Blow moulded bottles were pigmented by pre-blending natural polymer with a yellow masterbatch in steel drums using an end-over-end blender. The yellowness of the bottles varied over time. Transfer was by a standard vacuum hopper loader to the blow moulder hopper. 5. similar to insulated wires. orders were placed in which several identification colours were needed. an occasional long black striation appeared in the blue pipe. 5.3 Example 3 After extruding black polyethylene pipe for a period using natural high-density polyethylene with carbon black masterbatch. becoming very intense for short periods. It took quite a long time to completely purge the extruder and die of black polyethylene.

the black masterbatch pellets had lodged at joints in the hopper. 5.3.9 Masterbatch side feeder at hopper base.9. Figure 5.8 Avoidance of pellet separation in hopper.4 Other Systems Various arrangements are possible to deal with particular situations: one of the many possibilities is shown in Figure 5. 83 .Pellet Handling: A source of Variable Composition Figure 5. The pellets had eventually dislodged and contaminated the blue pipe. or possibly around bolts holding the sight glass and emptying side shute.

This method establishes the smallest of 7 funnel outlets through which the particulates will flow. The test rig shown in Figure 5.1 Hopper Flow Tests Testing standards involving timed discharges have little relevance to extruder hoppers. Controlling the discharge rate with a pair of rotating sponge rollers. e. the composition of the feed material may change due to particulate segregation following change of material supplier or even machine changes by the same supplier. Although aimed at testing polyvinylchloride powder compounds. ASTM D1895 [2. the same principle could be used for pellets. sub-standard extrusions can arise following the un-noticed change from strand-cut to die face cut incoming material. bulk factor and pourability of plastic materials.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 5.4 Measurement of Particulate Properties With the widespread use of automatic blending and hopper loading. 3]. Two pertinent points can be considered: 1) Materials which have good hopper flow may well have poor screw conveying. Although the various standard funnel tests appear inappropriate for measuring the flow behaviour of plastics pellets and granulated scrap in extruder hoppers. a test using a range of funnels described by Boysen and Gronebaum [4]. and vice versa. avoids the assistance of momentum and air entrainment effects of standard tests. Thus. There are both general standards and specific standards for such properties as apparent density. 5. crumb.10 is near to the real extruder situation. whilst using a redundant extruder hopper or a copy will replicate behaviour in a production extruder. 2) There is a general lack of standards and readily available testing equipment suitable for testing plastics pellets and other particulate forms such as flake.g. as well as the range of hopper shapes used.4. Under normal extrusion conditions. etc. might be suitable. the slowly moving pellets lack the momentum and entrained air assistance associated with the standard tests.. 84 . shredded film.

NY. 4. Gronebaum. 549. References 1. Ed. 1981. Applied Science Publishers. G. Boysen and J. J. Marcel Dekker. 8. UK. 2003. 85 . Plastverarbeiter. and pourability of Plastics Materials. . Bulk Factor. 2. New York. M. Gale in Handbook of Polymer Testing. Brown.10 Hopper flow test using controlled discharge rate. USA.3. Chapter 8. 1972. Dick and M. R. Standard Test Methods for Apparent Density. 25. Plastics Pneumatic Conveying and Bulk Storage.Pellet Handling: A source of Variable Composition Figure 5. Barking.. Butters. ASTM D1895-96.

Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 86 .

The bolt represents the extruder screw and the nut the bed of plastics granules in the screw channel. and on the other. plastic extruder feed zones had smooth barrels. melting and pumping are equally important for overall throughput. particularly in combination with barrier screws. 6.6 Solids Conveying in the Feed/Transport Zone The three main stages of solids conveying. Figure 6. These are demonstrated in Figure 6. but feed zone inserts with grooves to restrain pellet rotation were introduced in Europe in the 1960s and have grown in application. the output rate will be limited by the conveying efficiency of the worst performing zone.1 Smooth Feed Zones Forwarding by a screw (except in gravity conveyors) is bounded by two limiting cases.1 Nut-on-bolt model for screw conveying. but less so in North America. As problems will be cumulative with succeeding stages. 87 . the feed zone is all-important in terms of both overall output rate and output rate consistency.1. For many years. On the one hand there can be no accumulations of material.

2). A common comment on variable or reduced output rate is ‘there is a problem of screw slip’ whereas screw slip is essential for conveying and the observed variable or reduced conveying is due to ‘barrel slip’. The real forwarding situation is that particulate solids conveying is simulated in the model by very lightly restraining the nut so that it turns at.2 Model illustrating possible conveying directions by considering a single pellet. 2) Pure rotational movement In the second limiting case. It will then move axially at half a pitch for every bolt revolution. half the turning rate of the bolt. it will turn with the bolt and not travel axially. we have 100% conveying.. this is possible in real situations.. i. 88 . the nut will move axially one pitch per revolution.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 1) If the bolt is turned and the nut is restrained from turning. we have barrel slip and zero conveying. 2) If the bolt is turned and the nut is not restrained. Figure 6. i. This is not possible in a smooth barrel. the material slips at the barrel surface and the pellet rotates with the screw in the direction V2 with no axial movement.e. In contrast to pure axial movement. 1) Pure axial movement Where there is pure axial movement in which the pellets behave like a restrained nut on a rotating bolt.e. the pellet will be transported one pitch for every screw revolution in the axial direction V1. for example. Two limiting cases can be applied to the screw channel in which a pellet is situated against the pushing face of the screw flight (Figure 6.

will improve forwarding. and low values of screw friction providing slip. die faced cut pellets that are almost spherical or suspension polymerisation beads) are more likely to give screw conveying problems. This is because pellets that lock together easily will transmit forces applied by the turning screw flight to frictional drag forces at the barrel wall. Irregular granulated scrap sheet or pipes which are more likely to bridge in the hopper will be conveyed more readily by the screw.2. High values of barrel friction providing drag. the forwarding direction V4 will lie between V3 and V2 and therefore depend on the relative friction between both screw and barrel. V3. will not produce sufficient or consistent enough barrel wall drag to be easily conveyed forward. This direction of forwarding.g.1 show no significant rise up to 120 °C. Conversely. 89 . This results in overall forward plug conveying. In practice. those that give the best hopper flow (e. This will require zero friction between feed material and screw surface. The fall between 60 and 100 °C may be a ‘rubbing-in’ characteristic of the instrument. The variables which determine forwarding efficiency and feed zone output in a given screw/barrel system are: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) Pellet/barrel friction Pellet/screw friction Pellet bulk density Pellet/pellet friction Screw helix angle Screw channel depth The most favourable conditions for solids conveying in a screw [1] are: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) High pellet/barrel friction Low pellet/screw friction High pellet bulk density Optimum helix angle (which is related to friction coefficient) A deep screw channel When examining pellet behaviour. In general the coefficient of friction of polymer pellets against a steel surface will rise with increasing temperature..Solids Conveying in the Feed/Transport Zone The best possible situation that can theoretically be achieved is for pellet movement in a direction at right angles to the flight. although the results in Table 6. V4 can be defined by the transport angle as shown in Figure 6. beds of pellets that readily internally shear (or roll over each other).

179 0.076 0.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Table 6.681 Coefficient of Friction HDPE VHMWPE PP PP Pellets Crumb Pellets Powder 0.112 0. Figure 6.086 0.088 0.081 6. 596 0.065 0.2 Grooved Feed Zones In Section 6.635 0.086 0. 3] (Figure 6.568 0.586 0.048 0.083 0. This principle was introduced in the late 1960s and early 1970s by incorporating axial grooves in the feed zone to restrain pellet rotation [2.3). 90 .3 Feed zone with reducing depth axial grooves.5 rpm for a range of temperatures Test temperature Polymer Form 60 °C 100 °C 120 °C 140 °C Initial 0.586 0.074 0.663 0.083 0.1 Polymer/Metal (External) Friction Coefficient at 0.865 15 min 0.1 the analogy of a nut on a turning bolt demonstrated that in the real situation the axial movement of the nut depended on the extent it was restrained from slipping between the fingers.

50 0.2. there was an impetus to improve the forwarding efficiency of the extruder feed zone as the feed material was a low coefficient of friction powder/crumb.Solids Conveying in the Feed/Transport Zone With the advent of very high molecular weight HDPE for applications such as large rigid blow-moulded containers. Internal friction for very high molecular weight high-density polyethylene (VHMWHDPE) is comparable to HDPE and therefore the particulate bed should be equally resistant to internal shearing.7 mm Bulk Density (g/l) 485 480 517 395 450 393 508 387 6. with a bulk density less than other polyolefines.1 and 6.39 Coefficient of friction HDPE: High-density polyethylene VHMWPE: Very high molecular weight polyethylene PP: Polypropylene Table 6. Polymer/polymer and polymer/metal coefficients of friction in Tables 6. Table 6.46 0.2 were produced using an ‘annular shear cell’. a requirement for efficient grooved feed conveying.3 mm 91 .2 Polymer/polymer (internal) friction coefficient at 7 rpm for a range of temperatures Test temperature Material HDPE VHMWPE PP Form Pellets Crumb Powder Ambient 0.49 0. Friction data shown in Table 6. are overall very similar.50 0. Bulk density values shown in Table 6.38 60 °C 0.48 0.1 and Table 6.3 are significantly lower for VHMWHDPE except when comparing with PP pellets using containers having channel depths similar to laboratory extruder screw channels. although low.48 0.39 120-130 °C – 0.37 85-90 °C – 0.3 Bulk Densities for different particulates at three test container depths Depth of test container Test container HDPE PP PP VHMWPE Form Pellets Pellets Powder Crumb 80 mm 510 518 528 417 12.

A further refinement is to provide a taper to the feed zone bore over the same length as the grooves (Figure 6. the very high specific output rate achieved with the combination of granule feed and grooved feed resulted in effectively reduced usable output rates as a result of the conventional screw being unable to fully melt the polymer above a critical screw speed (Table 6.4. There is consequently a need for an adequate level of internal friction. Grooves are normally regarded as unsuitable for powders. the combination of grooves with tapered bush produced an increase in output for PP powder of 10% as shown in Figure 6. 92 . Compared with the smooth bore feed.4 Grooved feed zone sleeve used with 38 mm extruder.7 and Table 6.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Feed zones with axial grooves machined at regular intervals around the bore and extending 2-3 D (D represents the distance along an extruder screw in terms of screw diameters) beyond the feed zone opening will prevent the polymer particulates located within the grooves from turning. With PP pellets.4.3 mm. the grooved parallel bush increased output rate by 18% and the grooved tapered bush by 62%. The results in this figure shows comparisons of output rates for PP pellets for a 38 mm extruder with a feed zone channel depth of 5. such that in an ideal situation. Even so. the solids material will be propelled like a restrained nut on a turning bolt. Internal friction between these particulates will transmit these forces through the bed of material.5). Figure 6. The depth of the grooves becomes shallower towards the forwarding direction until they run out at the barrel surface.5). Very significant increases in output rate are evidently possible as shown in Figure 6. but very efficient water cooling is necessary to prevent frictional heat melting the pellets or crumb within the feed area. A grooved feed section sleeve is shown in Figure 6.6. The resulting compaction may increase internal friction which will further reduce any tendencies to internally shear.

Figure 6.5 Axially grooved. tapered bore.Solids Conveying in the Feed/Transport Zone Figure 6. feed zone.6 Extruder output rate versus screw speed: comparison of three feed zone sleeves using PP granules. 93 .

7 Extruder output rate versus screw speed: comparison of two feed zone sleeves using PP powder.2 94 .9 3.8 Parallel + Grooves 3.4 Specific output rate comparisons for PP powder with PP pellets using three feed zone sleeves Specific output rate (g/screw revolution) Parallel/plain PP Powder Pellets 3.3 6.6 4.5 Tapered + Grooves 4.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 6. Table 6.

Solids Conveying in the Feed/Transport Zone

Table 6.5 Influence of grooves in the feed section on melting limit
Feed Zone Parallel/plain Output rate (g/rev) PP Powder PP Pellets 3.8 Melting limit (g/min) 341 Parallel + grooves Output rate (g/rev) 3.0 4.5 Melting limit (g/min) 206 Tapered + grooves Output rate (g/rev) 3.6 6.2 Melting limit (g/min) 250 179

Overall output rates for VHMWHDPE were comparatively low: a specific output rate of 3.5 g/min being achievable only up to a screw speed of 50 rpm due to onset of surging also attributed to melting deficiencies of the general purpose screw. This was confirmed by model feed zone trials using an 8D screw in a short barrel with a range of applied back pressures which showed consistent output rates over a wide range of screw speeds when using a grooved feed. As feed zone channel depth is increased beyond a certain maximum, further increases in channel depth will result in increasing internal shearing of the solids bed until the forwarding rate reduces to a level similar to that for a smooth barrel surface [6]. Although the optimum depth with a grooved feed zone is significantly less than for a smooth feed zone, the forwarding is so efficient that a reduced depth and/or reduced pitch is used to limit the extra torque and feed zone cooling which is otherwise necessary. By using grooves in the feed zone, the output rate is driven and accurately controlled at the start of the screw and no longer dependent on the die resistance. The metering zone as a pump is therefore redundant and becomes available for part of the melting process and mixing the increased throughput [5]. It was therefore logical to use grooved feed zones in combination with barrier melting screws (see Chapter 7). However, the original consequence was that the extruder had to withstand very high feed zone pressures and drive torque. Power was dissipated by the intensive feed zone cooling required to prevent premature melting and breakdown of solids forwarding. There was also a requirement for increased wear resistant screws and barrels, particularly in the feed zone. Over a period of time, increasing polymer prices biased the objectives towards exploiting the pumping accuracy to achieve consistent extrusion dimensions. This enabled products such as pipes and films to be made at the minimum thickness allowed with minimised risk of falling outside the dimensional specifications. Consequently, raw materials’ costs were reduced. In more recent years the disadvantages of the need for intensive water cooling, wear, and high power consumption have been addressed. 95

Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion In more recent years, combining optimum channel depth with reduced screw pitch matched the feed zone’s specific output rate to the melting and mixing capacity of the remainder of the screw.

6.3 Particulate Friction Measurements
With screw conveying efficiency being dependent on friction, both between pellets and steel, and within beds of pellets, friction data can be useful. Measurement techniques range from inclined planes to annular shear cells [6]. The friction data recorded in Tables 6.1 and 6.2 was obtained using a comparatively large instrument which was fitted within a large air circulating oven and driven by a vertical shaft from below. It was based on one at Warren Spring Laboratory which was in turn based on one devised for measurements on powdered coal. It consisted of a rotating annular trough containing the pellets under test into which was fitted either a smooth ring (for polymer pellet versus metal friction) or a ring with blades (for pellet versus pellet friction) The normal load was applied by adding weights to the ring (or ‘shoe’) and the transmitted frictional force measured by a load cell restraining the ring from rotating. The pellets were gripped by the very rough base of the trough and alignment of the shoe was ensured by the shoe’s location on the drive shaft. For more details see reference [7]. A smaller diameter instrument was later built which had a smooth heated shoe enabling higher normal loads to be applied. Pellets rubbed against a heated metal surface, steadily rising in temperature until melting started. An ‘expanded’ view of this instrument is shown in Figure 6.8. The larger instrument running under steady conditions was useful in comparing polyolefines in different particulate forms, particularly for grooved feed zone behaviour. Internal friction results were very consistent for specific polymers over the ambient to 120-130 °C temperature range, but varied from 0.38 for PP to around 0.45 for the HDPE/VHMWHDPE. External friction again showed differences between PP and HDPE/VHMWHDPE with no clear trends, except considerably greater variability with temperature. The sudden drop with the 60 °C to 100 °C tests for PP may be a ‘rubbing in’ effect. Figures 6.9, 6.10 and 6.11 show traces for temperatures and associated friction against time. The onset of wide amplitude friction traces indicate onset of melting of polymer in contact with the shoe. The examples show wide variations in friction characteristics with temperature between particulate forms. However, there are decreases rather than increases in friction up to the onset of melting. 96

Solids Conveying in the Feed/Transport Zone

Figure 6.8 Expanded view of an annular shear cell polymer to metal friction tester. (Drawing by Richard Humpidge. ©1975, Rapra Technology)


Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion

Figure 6.9 Friction changes with increased metal temperature for irregular HDPE granules. (©1975, Rapra Technology)

Figure 6.10 Friction changes with increased metal temperature for polypropylene powder. (©1975, Rapra Technology) 98

Solids Conveying in the Feed/Transport Zone

Figure 6.11 Friction changes with increased metal temperature for polypropylene powder preblended with 20% talc filler. (©1975, Rapra Technology)

6.4 Friction in the Feed Zone
As low screw friction combined with high barrel friction should give the best solids forwarding, it appears logical that a combination of a highly polished screw with the matt finish of a cast iron feed section should be ideal. Other features such as feed zone screw cooling [8] might be of assistance. However, temperatures promoting faster melting, as found for a one piece barrel by Smith and co-workers [9] may be very effective. Friction measurements using a rising metal surface temperature as in Figure 6.9 show that coefficient of friction of pellets against steel are likely to steadily fall a little during early temperature rises and then rapidly rise as melting starts (Figure 6.9). These effects have also been shown by Huxtable and co-workers [6]. The use of polymer powder and the presence of particulate filler will influence this behaviour as shown in Figures 6.10 and 6.11. Feed zone screw cooling might be advisable if an additive causes pellets to stick to a warm screw surface. A similar example is that a quickly melting additive powder dusted on to polymer pellets may cause a breakdown in pellet conveying. A potential remedy is to get the extruder ‘up to speed’ on pellets alone to establish good solids conveying before the additive is introduced. Conveying factors also need considering before pumping liquid additives such as liquid colours, tackifiers and so on into feed/ solids conveying zones. 99

W. Marcel Dekker. Smith. UK.A.D. 1. Huxtable. E. J. USA. Kosel. 3. 1956. J. Canada. p. p..W. Plastics and Rubber. Inc. 7. Sickles. Wriggles. Womer. References 1.171. L..A. Miller and T. Processing and Applications. Hegele. SPE Journal. U. 87. 1997. Shawbury. and J. G. Cogswell. Steward in Proceedings of the SPE Annual Conference .M. New York.S. 2. 5. Toronto. TX. Gale in Handbook of Polymer Testing. 100 . p. Michels in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC ‘97.H. Mol. but that an understanding of the conveying mechanism is a step towards a satisfactory outcome.N. Menges and R. 39. R. Darnell and E. Wortberg and R.8. 5.390. Ed. Dick and M. 1971. 1995. Dallas. Shrewsbury. 4. 6. 12. 4. Roger Brown. 9. Toronto. 1970. R. NY. Plastics and Polymers. 319.J. 11. W. Paper No.A. 2007.48. J. F. Shales in Proceedings of a Rapra Technology Symposium on Screws for Polymer Processing: the Way to Better Productivity. 1981. Proceedings of the SPE Annual Conference – ANTEC ‘07.ANTEC. 8. 21. 2001.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion The overall position is that feed zone problems need individual solutions. Plastverarbeiter. Canada.62. 143. W. 1. 20. USA. p.

The rate of melting can sometimes be gauged by examining the surface which may reveal the increasing width of the melt along the length of the strip.7 Melting 7. usually with a hydraulic ram and sometimes with a short reheat to release the polymer from the barrel surface. stop the machine and apply rapid cooling to freeze the polymer in the screw channel. Edwards and co-workers [5] used a barrel split axially to avoid risks of disturbing the surface during removal. whilst Edmondson and Fenner [6] used both methods. The screw is then ejected. Thompson and co-workers [4] used a clear tube to contain loose feed section material. An extruder screw will contain unmelted pellets at the feed end and molten polymer at the discharge end prior to die entry.1 Melting Mechanism As mixing cannot occur until the polymer has melted. the exposed material filled screw can then be marked for further investigation by drawing a line along its length and numbering each screw turn. During this period the die and adaptor are removed. maybe occupying anywhere from one to two thirds or more of its total length. Between these two points there will be a transition from solid pellets to molten polymer over a number of screw turns. In order to visually inspect the transition from pellets to melt. are of concern with regard to thorough incorporation of additives. The usual procedure is to run an extruder under steady conditions. Following ejection. 101 . This technique had previously been used by Grant and Walker to study mixing [3]. assuming the machine is functioning correctly. Melting has been studied in depth over the years and the technique usually used is that pioneered by Maddock [1] and by Street [2]. mixtures of coloured pellets were used right from earliest investigations so that some appreciations of screw mixing behaviour was established concurrently with the melting studies. delays in start of melting and the late completion of melting. For ease of storing and sectioning it can then be unwound whilst just hot enough to be pliable and cooled as a flat straight length.

2(a)).1 shows part of a screw sample and the cross section. Unmelted pellets are delineated by a blue pigment. dry mixed before extrusion.2(b)). 3) Providing the screw is not badly worn. 4) Moving down channel it will form a rotating melt pool at the back of the channel (Figure7.1 Material spiral removed from extruder screw which also shows cut channel cross-section. 102 . Viewing cross sections cut from the strip at regular intervals will show the transition from solid pellets to molten polymer.2(c)). To show the mechanism more clearly.2(d)).e. The melting mechanism is typically as follows: 1) Screw conveying packs the pellets together and conveys them away from the hopper as a solid bed in which there is no relative movement between adjacent pellets (Figure 7.. 5) The remaining pellet solids bed will continue to advance down the channel such that the melting mechanism is maintained with continual addition to the melt pool. 2) Granules of the solid bed pressed against and dragged along the hot barrel surface will melt and form a film (Figure 7. i. there is a very narrow gap between flight and barrel.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 7. this molten film will quickly become too thick to pass over the flight and will be scraped off and forced inwards by the advancing flight (Figure 7. The rotating melt pool may also erode the solids bed at the interface. Figure 7. the extrusion is carried out using pellets comprising a blend of two colours or natural pellets dusted with pigment.

7) Eventually all the granules will be melted and the rotating melt pool will fill the channel width (Figure7. Figure 7. feeding it with material such that it becomes steadily wider [5] (Figure 7. A single flighted three zone screw as shown in Figure 7.Melting 6) We now have a situation in which the solid bed with no channel circulation coexists with a rotating melt pool. Thereafter the melt continues its helically flowing progress to the screw tip.2(f)). 7.2 has three main stages: 1) Feed/solids transport zone 2) Compression (channel depth reducing) melting zone 3) Metering or melt pumping zone. 103 .2 Variations in Melting Rate Screw design is primarily aimed at achieving high and consistent output rate for a particular product from a particular polymer.2 Diagram showing melting mechanism in screw channel. The solids may travel down channel faster than the melt pool.2(e)).

screw speed. The compression ratio (or more accurately. 104 .3(a) gives a few examples which show that in general semi-crystalline polymers such as high-density polyethylene (HDPE) require more energy for melting than an amorphous polymer such as polystyrene (PS).Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion The channel depths and relative lengths of the three zones will depend on the polymer and possibly on the application. Although it may appear logical that melting will start near the beginning of the compression zone and be completed at the end of this zone. One important factor is the energy required to achieve melting.3 Semi-crystalline and amorphous polymer structures.3(b). Figure 7. the channel depth ratio) also varies depending on the polymer and application. the overall length and position will be influenced by temperatures. (a) (b) Figure 7. and other variables. A diagrammatic representation of the two structures is shown in Figure 7.

3] but this was a remedy used more often in the days when extruder screw length to diameter ratios (L/D) were typically 15:1 and the consequential reduced output rate due to the cooling was evidently acceptable. causing it to break at regular intervals into separate pieces. 105 .3 Solids Bed Break-up In addition to a melt film existing between solids bed and barrel surface. a melt film can also form between the solids bed and screw surface. the two forms will appear on the recorded trace in proportion to the relative widths of pellet bed and melt (Figure 7. Where both solids bed and melt coexist during melting. Melting progress can be plotted on a continuous basis by comparing the relative lengths of the respective pellet and melt length regions. This behaviour tended to occur towards the end of melting and could be prevented by applying screw cooling to freeze the melt film in contact with the screw. This can promote a phenomenum called ‘solids bed break-up’. the melting rate was continuously monitored by observing pressure traces from a number of melt pressure transducers fitted along the length of the barrel. As the screw rotates. The shape is influenced by the pressure transducer diaphragm diameter and response in relation to the screw flight width. in many cases melting with regard to mixing is given a low priority. Screw cooling had been shown to improve mixing in earlier papers [1. It was demonstrated by Edmondson and Fenner [6] where in addition to using both screw jacking and split barrel techniques. pitch and pellet shape and size. 7.4). the pressure trace from a transducer on a continuous recorder will show a lower erratic pressure trace when pellets pass over the transducer diaphragm and a steady rise in pressure across the channel where molten polymer is present. To avoid excessive shear heat development from a very shallow channel. The overall effect is that the screw design is a compromise. a screw might be made with a deeper but longer metering zone at the expense of the feed and compression/melting zones.5).Melting The melting/pumping zone generates the required pressure to push the melt at an adequate rate through the die. Recorded traces including solids bed break-up were reproduced by Christiano and Slusarz in [7]. HDPE has a comparatively low melt viscosity and requires a longer and/or shallower metering zone for pumping against a high back pressure die such as one used for small bore tubing or thin tapes. Edmondson and Fenner [6] found that acceleration of the solid bed occurred. where. These were one to four times their width and separated by melt regions which increased as the pieces moved downstream (Figure 7. For example.

Figure 7.4 Detection of solids and melt regions in a screw channel during extrusion.5 Solids bed break-up (‘iceberg effect’). 106 .Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 7.

or angled to be pressure generating.4 Melting Devices A number of melting devices have been devised. 2]. Comparisons were made with a conventional three zone screw with the same feed and metering zone dimensions (Figure 7.6 mm ball end miller to give a channel width of 8. In all these cases they can be in-line causing a pressure loss. 13]) some early work by the author examining its potential for black low-density polyethylene (LDPE) pipe extrusion using natural polymer plus carbon black masterbatch is described below [14.6) had four entry and four exit channels machined using a 9. a series of inlet and outlet channels separated by barrier flights such that all material must pass through the gap between the barrier flights and the hot barrel surface. It is likely that the inspiration for the first two (Street/Gregory of Egan [9] and Le Roy of Union Carbide [10] resulted from the early screw jacking research [1. With the addition of flightless entry and exit areas. passed over a barrier (through the gap) and left via the exit groove. Although possibly not the best performing [8]. passes through a gap only once. having in common. and those that have channels which taper either in depth or width or both. The Maddock element (shown in Figure 7.5 mm overall gap such that material entered an entry groove. the element occupied approximately the last 3D of the compression zone.2).02 and the alternate lands were ground to give a nominally 0. (even being used in combination with modern barrier screws [12. has appeared regularly in publications on screw performance ever since and is often the standard by which other screw mixers are judged even though its principal role is that of a melting device. unlike twin screw extruders. The element was used between flight turns 13 and 15 in a 24D. Any semi-melted granules arriving at the element could not continue into the metering zone until melting was completed. but. 7. In view of the sustained interest and applications of the Maddock element. Following a publication by Maddock [11]. 38 mm extruder with what was otherwise a conventional screw with 8D metering and 8D feed zone sections. the possibility of incomplete melting due to solids bed break-up needed attention. They can be divided into those that have constant cross section channels. All material must pass over the barrier to reach the die.Melting With a demand over the intervening years for higher output rates. The diameter was 38. Six of such devices have been reviewed by Rauwendaal [8]. its simplicity makes it possible for any toolroom to produce them easily and cheaply which presumably made it difficult for the patent holder to pursue infringements.00 mm. 107 . This lead to the development of melting devices and barrier screws. the Le Roy mixer [10] (commonly referred to as a Maddock mixer). 15].

Masterbatch Flow Patterns in Polyethylene Extrusion. Shawbury. Rapra Technology. Figure 7.16. Shrewsbury.M. Rapra Technology. 1978. 1978. UK. Rapra Members Report No.7 Influence of screw temperature profiles on mixing with Maddock element at end of compression zone. Rapra Technology) Preliminary work showed that with the Maddock element screw.M. ©1978. Gale. the melting/mixing efficiency and output rate of the extruder was very dependent on the temperature profile along the extruder barrel. (b) constant.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 7. Photomicrographs of screw tip channel section. (Reproduced with Permission from G. Figure 7. Figure 7. Shawbury.16. Rapra Members Report No.24) for (a) increasing.6 Maddock type barrier shearing element for 38 mm extruder. Gale. and (c) decreasing temperature profile with LDPE. ©1978. (Reproduced with Permission from G. Rapra Technology) 108 . Shrewsbury.7 shows comparisons of sections taken from the final turn of the extruder screw (no. UK. Reversing the barrel temperature profile so that the feed end of the screw was at the highest temperature produced the highest output rate and the best mixing. Masterbatch Flow Patterns in Polyethylene Extrusion. Figure 8.

3 2. The unit’s mechanism was further illustrated by injecting a thread of pigmented LDPE from a 25 mm extruder through a pressure transducer tapping into unpigmented LDPE just before the element (Figure 7.3 187 138 172 204 204 210 The results in Table 7. Figure 7. This unmelted polymer obstructs flow across the barriers and severely reduces output rate. A lump or granule of masterbatch has been retained in the inlet groove where it would have subsequently melted. The molten natural material entered the four inlet channels on the right of the figure.10 is a photograph taken of material cut and opened out. the effect with the Maddock element was to increase output rate by about 35%. Photomicrographs of microtomed sections taken from an inlet and exit channel show that the element prevents unmelted or semi-melted material travelling any further (Figure 7. the ribbon was accepted alternately by each entry channel as it moved across.Melting Table 7. this was still about 8% less than for the conventional screw at the same screw speed.3 2.1 also show that whereas a reversal in temperature profile had a negligible effect on output rate of the conventional screw. The combination of rolling and peeling should quickly melt and feed material over the barrier. However. The black ribbon was injected at the bottom left hand corner.9). the unmelted polymer may exist as a result of it’s high enthalpy. and after passing over the barrier.3 2. As there was no screw flight in this area and the screw rotated past the stationary port. and viewed from the inside face following screw freezing and ejection. when using a Maddock element at this point with polypropylene (PP). However.3 2.1 Influence of barrel temperature profile on output rate with and without a Maddock element Mixing Temperature (°C) Conventional screw with screw Maddock Barrel Barrel Barrel Die 1 2 3 1 element Screw speed (rpm) Concentration Output of rate masterbatch (g/min) (%) X X X X X X 160 120 140 160 120 140 140 140 140 140 140 140 120 160 140 120 160 140 140 140 140 140 140 140 75 75 75 75 75 75 2.8). passed out through the four exit channels (on the left). 109 .3 2.

Shrewsbury. Shawbury. Gale. Gale.16. Figure 10. Masterbatch Flow patterns in Polyethylene Extrusion. Rapra Technology) Figure 7. Shawbury. Marker injection point is also shown in Figure 7. Rapra Technology) Figure 7. Shrewsbury. Masterbatch Flow Patterns in Polyethylene Extrusion.8 Maddock element acting as barrier to passage of an unmelted masterbatch pellet. ©1978. (Reproduced with Permission from G. 1978.M. 1978.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 7. (Reproduced with Permission from G. UK. UK. 1978.9 Overall flow through Maddock element. Figure 9. Figure 11. Rapra Technology.16. Rapra Members Report No.16. ©1978. Rapra Members Report No. (Reproduced with Permission from G. Rapra Technology. Shrewsbury.M.M.10 View from screw surface of unrolled material from Maddock element with injected black marker from side extruder. Rapra Technology. Shawbury. UK. Gale. Rapra Technology) 110 . Masterbatch Flow patterns in Polyethylene Extrusion.9. Rapra Members Report No. ©1978.

There was also a reduction in specific output rate of about 8%.11 Rolling melts in inlet and outlet channels. but laminar carbon black masterbatch streaks were still present although much thinner.Melting Figure 7.13 shows cross sections from the die adaptor. particularly at higher screw speeds. 111 . The outer surface was peeled like a veneer and transferred over the barrier to the exit channel (as in Figures 7. With the conventional screw. The overall effect is that in the early stages there was little difference between the two screws. There has been a general trend to move the Maddock element out of the compression/ melting zone and re-position it in the metering section or sometimes at the screw tip. The transformation of the separate clear and black areas in the entry channels to totally black in the exit channels (when viewed from the outside) is the result of this rolling action producing a spiral lamina structure.11) where the combined forwarding and rolling continued. In comparison. melting was incomplete two turns into the eight turn metering section. the Maddock element ensured melting was completed. There were indications of a substantial proportion of unpigmented natural polymer being fed to the die. the material in the entry channel appears to have followed a rolling mechanism or spiral. In addition to a general overall forward flow. The feed material was LDPE with carbon black masterbatch. Further trials using screw jacking following rapid barrel cooling compared sections from a conventional screw with the one fitted with the Maddock element. but the better completion of the melting by the Maddock element is clearly shown. and cross sections from the die adaptor had poor overall homogeneity. Note: unmixed white area at 95 rpm. Figure 7. This resulted in the ribbon progressing as a series of separate ‘blobs’ progressing along each entry channel and passing over the barrier into the exit channel.8 and 7.12 shows photomicrographs of microtomed channel cross sections taken every two turns and Figure 7.

Masterbatch Flow Patterns in Polyethylene Extrusion. Rapra Technology. Figure 13. Shrewsbury. UK. Rapra Technology) 112 .M. Rapra Members Report No. (Reproduced with Permission from G. Shawbury.16. ©1978.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 7.12 Photomicrographs of screw channel cross sections comparing screws with and without a Maddock element (continued opposite). 1978. Gale.

12 Continued … 113 .Melting Figure 7.

©1978. Examination following screw jacking showed material flow was restricted to the central part of the barrier [14] (see Figure 7. Rapra Members Report No.16. Rapra Technology) This restores the melting function to the compression zone with the Maddock element catching and melting solids bed break-up fragments and other material not quite fully melted. Figure 14. 9]. Shawbury.M. A 38 mm element made to the drawing in Figure 7. Rapra Technology. 1978.5%.13 Comparisons of strand die cross sections with and without a Maddock element for a range of screw speeds. UK. Masterbatch Flow Patterns in Polyethylene Extrusion. compared with the Maddock element and increased entry pressure from 7 to 9 MPa. Shrewsbury.14 increased loss in output rate by a further 7.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 7. 114 . Several barrier elements have been devised having tapered inlet and exit channels such that their cross sections will be in proportion to the amount of material passing through at any particular point [8. (Reproduced with Permission from G. Gale. It also avoids blockage from unmelted polymer and consequent reduction in output rate.14).

It may even result in incomplete melting at the screw tip and lumpy extrusions. Rapra Members Report No. Gale. 115 . 1978.14 Material flow over barrier in element with tapered grooves. UK. Overall it has been clearly demonstrated that mixing cannot be completed until all the polymeric materials are fully melted and hence the later the completion of melting the less the opportunity for good mixing to be achieved.M. (Reproduced with Permission from G. This is where shear strain mixing and melting conditions are at a minimum [6] (See Section 7. Shawbury.3).16. polymer blending or uniformity of temperature of a single material. 2) The tip of the solids bed often breaks up so that unmelted clusters of granules travel downstream more quickly in the central channel regions.5. Masterbatch Flow Patterns in Polyethylene Extrusion. This applies whether the mixing is for masterbatched additives.5 Barrier Flight Melting Screws 7.Melting Figure 7. ©1978. 3) The presence and size of masterbatch striations can increase with increasing screw speed as screw mixing capacity is reduced by later melting. Shrewsbury. Rapra Technology. Rapra Technology) 7.1 The Barrier Screw Concept Research using conventional extruder screws has shown that: 1) Completion of melting of the solids bed moves towards and beyond the end of the compression/melting zone as screw speed is increased. Figure 18.

Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion The barrier ‘melting screw’ can be an answer to this problem.2% of screw diameter. 17] and curiously [8] patented by Uniroyal in 1961 [18]. 20].5 mm [19. Barrier clearances can be typically 0. Cross sections of an unrolled channel in Figure 7. whilst flight clearances are 0. allowing a molten polymer film to pass over. A sketch of a Maillefer type barrier screw used by the author is shown in Figure 7. The barrier screw was patented in Europe in 1959 by Maillefer. a Swiss manufacturer of wire and cable machinery [16.16 Representation of unrolled Maillefer screw channel. Figure 7. They are understandably often referred to as barrier mixing screws because their replacement for conventional screws will often give an overall improvement in mixing as a consequence of their improved polymer melting.15. The gap between the barrier flight and the barrel wall is significantly greater than a normal screw clearance.15 Maillefer type barrier screw. all material must pass over the barrier flight to continue.1 to 0. but is narrow enough to hold back unmelted and semi-melted polymer. 116 . Figure 7. The second channel steadily widens until eventually the barrier flight is re-united with the original flight. In this particular adaption for a 38 mm extruder it forms approximately the middle third of a 24:1 L/D screw with 8D feed zone and 8D metering zone. As a result.16 shows how a second flight with an increased pitch (the barrier flight) is divided off the original flight to form a second channel.

The cavity transfer mixer is covered in Section 9. When the patents lapsed. Maillefer cited the suitability of this type of screw for a wide range of polymers. plasticised PVC (PPVC). and higher crystallinity more than lower crystallinity. 7.7% with PP. polymethylemethacrylate (PMMA) and cellulose acetate (CA). the barrier screw should both restrict melting to a designated region of the total screw and additionally avoid solids bed break-up problems. By controlling the rate of melting. Photomicrographs in Figure 7. interest focused on designs emanating from developments which had taken place in the USA. In Table 7. These were PPVC.Melting In Section 7. PS. With the original situation that the barrier screw was patented in Europe by Maillefer.16. the remaining compacted solids could be enveloped by molten polymer causing break-up of the residual solids bed.15 and Figure 7. The result is that semi-crystalline polymers will require the most heat and amorphous ones the least. comparisons were made by the author with a 38 mm laboratory extruder using the screw shown in Figure 7.5. HDPE.2 Maillefer Barrier Screw The Maillefer barrier screw’s performance was first described in 1963 [21]. PP. The reversal in comparative output rates between LDPE and PP for the two screws was due to the increased amounts of heat required to melt PP in comparison to LDPE. and with a conventional screw having the same geometry feed and metering zones. However. These fragments became isolated from the hot barrel surface and travelled unmelted in the central regions of the channel with minimal mixing.1 a number of polymers have been placed in order of their enthalpies with those requiring the largest amounts of heat to produce a melt at the top and the lowest at the bottom. ethylene vinyl acetate and so on. polyamide-6 (PA6).17 shows a 15.18 shows a decreased output rate of 32. there was little interest in Europe in this technology other than by insulated wire and cable producers.4. Figure 7. LDPE. In order to establish if better mixing of carbon black masterbatch into polyolefines could be achieved with this type of screw. the solids melting process was described whereby during the final stages of melting.6% increase in output rate for the barrier screw over the conventional screw with LDPE and Figure 7.19 of cross sections of strands extruded at 80 rpm show no significant improvement in mixing by using this particular barrier screw. 117 . A high proportion of wiring is insulated with LDPE. a Swiss cable machinery manufacturer. high molecular weight plyethylene (HMWPE).3. which have low enthalpies and should benefit from this type of barrier screw. Polyvinylchloride (PVC) is regarded as amorphous in this context.

Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 7. the introduction of a second channel introduced a large number of variables to choose from: 1) Barrier flight clearance.17 Output rate versus screw speed comparing a Meillefer type barrier screw with a conventional screw for LDPE in a 38 mm extruder.3 North American Barrier Screws With the barrier screw patented in the USA by Uniroyal. a rubber product manufacturing company. Compared with a conventional single channel screw. 118 . although perceived infringements were vigorously pursued [8].5. 2) Relative channel widths at any point. there was scope for development by screw supplying companies. 3) Depth of solids channel at any point. 7.

variations in pitch and changes in pitch of one flight relative to the other. 7) Screw flight pitch in the melting zone. 8) Overall proportion of screw length occupied by barrier flight.Melting Figure 7. 4) Depth of melt channel at any point. 6) Shape of transition from two channels to one channel: affects melt and maybe residual unmelted solids. and starting and finishing points. 5) Shape of transition from one channel to two channels: affects solid bed.18 Output rate versus screw speed comparing a Meillefer type barrier screw wit a conventional screw for PP with a 38 mm extruder. 9) Provision of shearing and mixing elements after the barrier section. 119 .

the solids channel becoming shallower and the melt channel becoming deeper. Overall.21) The wider solids channel exposes the unmelted pellets to a larger area of hot melt film covered barrel surface against which the pellets are rubbed. The separation of melt conveying from solids melting has enabled the channel sections at any point to be separately dimensioned to optimise their individual functions. (Figures 7. screw designers appear to have focused on screws with a wider and shallower solids channel to increase melting rate combined with a narrower deeper melt channel to minimise shear heat development by the melted polymer. the developments have been to depart from the single role of the barrier flight of separating melt from solids and hence controlling the melting model in what is otherwise a conventional screw.20 and 7. The varying channel depths can be easily combined with approximately constant channel widths for both solids and melt channels. The parallel development of computer aided machining has enabled complex designs that would have previously been far too expensive to be economically viable. This provides adequate forwarding 120 .Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 7. Following the appearance of designs covering a diverse combination of the possible variables [22]. This is a solids bed melting requirement previously described by Klein [23].19 Photomicrographs of extrusions containing 6% of a 40% carbon black masterbatch extruded at 80 rpm: Comparisons of four screw configurations.

Melting Figure 7. capacity and minimised shear heating. excessive shear heating.21 Modern barrier screw unrolled wit cross sections. which forms a restriction to solids conveying. In this case a rapid reduction in channel depth of the melt channel is necessary to bring it level with the metering zone channel depth. 121 . this leads to questions on how to start and finish the separate channels. This problem was highlighted by Hyun and co-workers [24] in screw removal experiments. melt existing in the channel may be overheated and degraded by this high shear region. The alternative appears to be to provide a margin of safety with a less shallow channel and provide a Maddock type barrier element in the metering zone to catch and fully melt any surviving semi-melted polymer. A similar solution to the channel entry restriction is to terminate the barrier flight without rejoining the main flight. Similarly the closure of the solids channel may result in either blockage by unmelted pellets or. The start of the second flight tends to cause a narrowing of the solids channel. Figure 7. on the other hand. If the solids channel is too shallow near its termination. Overall.20 Barrier screw: modern configuration. a problem which can occur in film co-extrusion when switching an extruder between different layers. and overcome by leaving a small gap at the start of the barrier flight which allowed a small quantity of solids to enter the melt channel.

2. 3) Three constant depth melt channel depths. 2) Two solids channel end depths. the variables most likely to influence processing [20] are: Output rate: 1) Feed depth. 4) Two barrier flight clearances 0.5. In trials by Steward and Braun [20]. Meanwhile.3 mm D. The polymers used were: 1) LDPE lower viscosity polyolefine. The results can be summarised as shown in Table 7. 2) Solids channel end depth.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Apart from the barrier start and finish arrangements. a 114. 24:1 L/D barrier screw was re-machined in stages to give the following: 1) Two feed zone depths. a range of quite different innovative screw designs have evolved in recent years to challenge both the conventional screw and barrier screw including the examples in Section 7. 2) Linear low-denisty polyethylene (LLDPE) higher viscosity polyolefine.51 mm and 1. 3) Melt channel depth. It appears that the barrier screw concept originating over 40 years ago has reached maturity without becoming the screw of choice for many applications.27 mm. 2) Barrier flight clearance. Melt temperature: 1) Feed depth. 4) Barrier flight clearance.5. 122 .

4 Combined Barrier Screws and Grooved Feed Zones The development of the grooved feed zone to improve forwarding of plastics pellets and crumb is described in Section 6.5. Originally. Although in 123 . and the combination of barrier screw and grooved feed zone became established in Europe whereas in North America barrier screws are mainly used with smooth feed zones [13]. making the depth decrease less influential. gave 20% increase for LDPE 20-25% increase for LLDPE *Solids channel end width may have been narrower than some barrier screw designs. Decreased with LDPE by about 5 °C at 100 rpm — 7. Melting was achieved by a range of devices which achieved their required function with minimal influence on output rate due to the positive solids conveying. The combination of barrier screws with grooved feed zones is a further variable which complicates comparisons of barrier screws with conventional screws. Eventually the barrier screw was substituted for the augmented conventional screw. grooved feeds were used in combination with conventional screws with regard to melting.2.Melting Table 7.2 Overall influences of barrier screw variables on output rate and melt temperature Selected Variable Increasing feed depth Output rate Increased by 10-20% Melt temperature Small reduction for LLDPE Negligible reduction for LDPE Increasing solids end channel depth* Small output increases Negligible effect Increasing flight clearance 5-10% increase for LDPE Decreased with LLDPE by about 15 °C at 75 rpm 5% increase for LLDPE Increasing melt channel depth Overall. for low friction and crumb materials such as very high molecular weight polyethylene.

7.5 mm).5. The general needs of start and termination of barrier flight have also been established. 124 . The shallow grooves were 1 × 1 mm. With the apparent approaching maturity of the Maillefer and Uniroyal derived barrier screw developments. The overall development is summarised in Table 7. Deep grooves were 9 mm wide x 4 mm deep at the beginning with a 63. They usually have a wide shallow solids melting channel and narrower relatively deep melt channel. a reduced output rate when used with PP and an increased output rate when used with LDPE. 7.1. combined with reduced melt temperatures.1. Their potential diversity is illustrated by the following examples.9 mm deep feed zone channel.5.2. the pellets were transformed from a bed of compacted pellets to a deformable homogenous compressed plug.5 [20]. They confirmed that improved output rates could be achieved with LLDPE. PP and MDPE by using deep feed zone grooves. grooved feed zones are far more likely to be used with barrier screws than with conventional screws. A second flight was introduced to divide this later stage of the solids channel into two parallel channels with alternating periodic depth changes in a similar manner to the double wave screw described in Section 7. In this case it is applied only to unmelted but pliable material as molten polymer transfers over the main barrier flight into the melt channel as before. Following the discovery that the metering zone of a Maillefer type screw was running only partially filled when extruding medium density polyethylene (MDPE). A comparison of a Maillefer type barrier screw with a conventional screw in Section 7.6. but that shallow grooves were unsatisfactory. Qui and co-workers [25] evaluated a grooved feed zone to ensure the metering channel was filled. The undulating channels impart repeated compression and expansion transferring mechanical energy to the solids which speeds up the melting process. It has been generally established that the result will be higher and consistent output rates in most cases.5. Compression ratio is 2 to 2. and the barrier gap (0. Shear and pin elements are added as necessary.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion general.3 mm D screw having a 9.5. further advances will most probably be in more radical innovations.1 Barrier Screw with Divided Solids Melting Channel Observations by Christiano and Thompson [26] from screw push-outs showed that during the middle to late stages of the solids melting channel. showed for the barrier screw.5 Barrier Screw Developments The general form of the barrier screw has in general become established.

6. Additional advantages claimed include lower pressure demands on the feed zone such that wear as well as cooling needs are reduced. 28] This barrier screw appears similar to that in described [13].Melting 7. 7. 125 . 30]. part of it will pass over the barrier flight into the adjoining channel. The metering section consists of two equal width channels separated by an undercut barrier flight as in a barrier screw. A separate grooved bush becomes unnecessary. The overall output per revolution can be 30% greater than an equivalent conventional screw [31].22.5. Shearing elements plus a pin/pineapple mixer follows the barrier melting zone. The process works by utilising the barrel grooves to peel the melt film and softened pellets from the solids channel and transferring them into the melt channel. air cooling is sufficient to control the feed zone temperature. With screw pitch decreased within the feed zone. Figure 7.5. The departure from the normal barrier melting arrangement is the provision of helical grooves in the barrel surface for its full length. When material approaches a peak from a valley. However in this case the channels have varying depths along their length with continually repeating peaks and troughs which alternate between the two channels. but having a reducing depth in the feed zone. The slowing of any unmelted material by the peaks amid faster flowing melted polymer will promote their melting. but an axial grooved bush is still an option.6 Other Melting Screws 7.22 Double wave screw: flow arrangement.1 Double Wave Screw The Double Wave Screw has been around for many years following the patent by HPM in 1978 [29. The general concept is shown in Figure 7. Every half turn the process is reversed between channels which promotes distributive mixing.2 Barrier Screw with Spiral Barrel Grooves for Overall Length [27.

100:1 and 220:1. The variable barrier (VB) energy transfer screw [33] uses a generally similar mixing section to the energy transfer section but occupies about 50% more of the screw length and the barrier section is eliminated.23 Energy transfer and VB energy transfer screws. Barr in Proceedings of the 60th SPE Annual Conference – ANTEC 2002. 2002. 75:1. but in trials using a 63. the Maddock shear element is retained (see Figure 7. (Reproduced with permission from J. and VB energy transfer screw.A.3 Stratablend Mixing Screw This could have been included in Section 7.A.5 mm extruder by Somers and co-workers [34].2 Barr Energy Transfer Screws The Barr energy transfer screw [32] has a barrier melting section following the feed section followed by the energy transfer section and a short metering section with a Maddock type shear element. CA. The energy transfer section has two parallel channels but differs from the double wave screw by having alternating transfers across both flights by relieving the clearances for short distances. except that the metering zone is eliminated. the latter outperformed the others in the extrusion of LLDPE and LLDPE blends with regards to both output rate and melt temperature. The extruder screw was 88. USA. However. 126 . ©2002.9 mm diameter.6. Comparisons were made with a conventional screw using LDPE and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene in which black masterbatch pellets containing 30% pigment were premixed with white pellets containing 2% titanium dioxide in ratios of 35:1. San Francisco. Figure 7.6. Paper No.23).Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 7. The first part resembles a conventional screw with feed and compression zones. the mixer length of 7D represented a third of the total length of the screw. with 30:1 L/D. 7. SPE) In blown film trials comparing a barrier screw and an energy transfer screw.4 concerned with mixing elements which can be incorporated into many screw designs.251. Myers and R.

R.Antec 1998. e. A slightly higher screw speed was necessary for the ‘Stratablend’ screw to match the output rate for the conventional screw. GA.7 Barrier Flight Screws versus Conventional Screws Considering that barrier flight screws date back to 1959. Cross sections of screw channel samples from ‘push-out’ trials showed significant improvements in both melting and mixing for the ‘Stratablend’ mixing screw in comparison to the conventional screw with relatively small increases in melt temperature. The rings have slots on both inside and outside surfaces and can be angled with the same or opposite pitch to the screw or in-line with the screw axis. USA.4 Shear-Ring Screw This screw by Wang [35].D. K. Spanding. The prototype described is basically a conventional screw with a series of interacting slotted rings located at intervals along the screw by pegs such that the rings can turn independently of the screw. ©1998. SPE) The screw mixing section consisted of a shallow screw channel into which three parallel rows of deep grooves extending for almost half a screw turn with small overlaps between each of the three adjacent rows and separated by lands formed by the base of the channel (see Figure 7..A.24). Hughes and J. it is surprising that by 2001 general purpose screws remained the most commonly used design [36].272.24 Schematic of ‘Stratablend’ mixing section. 80 rpm to match output at 74 rpm. Atlanta. 7.g. batch mixing for different screw configurations. Volume 1. the conventional screw is more often the screw 127 . (Reproduced with permission from S. 7. In spite of the barrier screw’s proven ability to produce significantly higher output rates at lower melt temperatures. Frankland in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference .6. Somers and M. was designed to take advantage of the principle that reducing pellet size increases melting rate. p. They can be fitted singly or in pairs.Melting Figure 7.

dart impact. quality issues including those affected by downstream equipment may be more important.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion of choice. The results showed that in spite of the higher melt temperatures. but at a high cost. and optical properties. However. PA12 and styrene-acrylonitrile (SAN) for example. pressure and therefore gauge variations were lower. puncture. and there was possibly less haze. Although polyolefins predominate. comparing a smooth with a grooved feed zone. With the grooved feed zone. and when combined with grooves. These results show the ability of barrier screws to produce high output rates at lower melt temperatures.3. The maximum overall output rate with grooved feeds may also depend on the secondary reason that increasing pressure within the feed section may generate sufficient solids temperatures to cause pellet softening and a breakdown in conveying [37. The argument against barrier screws is that the design is specific to the polymer (usually polyolefin) and the application (frequently pipes and film). Maillefer’s reported output rates were considerably higher with the barrier screw for PA11 and PA12 than for the polyolefines used [21]. 38]. Bad news travels around the plastics industry a lot faster than good news and hence potential users will be far more aware of problems than successes. It was concluded that higher stabilisation would reduce the effects of apparent overworking with the grooved feed zone. in LLDPE films made on a production blown film line using a barrier screw. including gels and haze. only one includes a comparison of a full range of pertinent mechanical properties.more so when combined with a grooved feed zone. In general the results show improvements in output rate when barrier screws are used . Panagopoulos [39] compared the machine direction tear. With PA11. to give linear output versus screw speed relationships. particularly when purchasing three or more extruders for a co-extrusion line. This is reinforced by the modern trend for production flexibility requiring screws to homogenise a wide variety of materials such that output rate and quality will not be met by a screw designed for a specific purpose. this is hardly surprising when considering both the large quantities extruded and the economic importance of high extrusion rates with commody polymers. There is also the question of the higher costs of barrier screws. Even so. the barrier screw in a smooth feed extruder had clear advantages in film quality and properties. A summary of nine sets of results covering 18 polymers is shown in Table 7. Examination of published information comparing four possible combinations of barrier and conventional screws with smooth and grooved feed zones gives some guidance although the varying selections of materials and equipment presents some difficulties in making comparisons. 128 .

Melting As the grooved feed/barrier screw arrangement has been established for the extrusion of water and gas pipes where mechanical properties must meet well regulated pipe standards. the disadvantage discovered in the above film trials are not likely to be universal. output rates from the grooved feed zone were 67% more than for the smooth feed zone. the barrier screw increased specific output rate for SAN and PA by 10-15%. However. However. Using only the smooth feed. For the same feed zone the output rates for the conventional and barrier screws were the same. the film trials emphasise the need to establish that physical properties necessary for the application are met.4 129 . Schoppner [36] showed that for PP the output rate depended entirely on whether or not a grooved feed zone was used. The different combinations of screw and feed zone features mentioned in Table 7. before accepting new technology in production plant. It also produced erratic changes in melt temperature with increasing screw speed for both conventional and barrier screws. Only PP was used in both smooth and grooved feed zone extrusion trials [36]. With so many possible design variables.3 are summarised in Table 7. there are inevitably inconsistencies between reported performances.

: conventional 130 . 28] POP LDPE LDPE ETPU HDPE HDPE H [36] PP SAN PA6 FPVC LDPE HDPE HMWPE I [21] PP PA6 PS PMMA CA Diameter (mm) 50 50 50 50 60/62 150 135 135 135 63.5 63.5 63 50 75 45 45 45 45 Maillefer Maillefer Maillefer Maillefer Maillefer Maillefer Maillefer Maillefer Maillefer L/D 28:1 28:1 28:1 28:1 24:1 28:1 27:1 27:1 27:1 24:1 24:1 24:1 21:1 34:1 36:1 30:1 30:1 30:1 30:1 Screw Screw Screw Screw Screw Screw Screw Screw Screw                      ETPU: engineering thermoplastic polyurethane FPVC: flexible polyvinylchloride        Added Element Shear     Mixing       Pinned     Section          Smooth feed Barrier Conventional Grooved Feed Barrier          Conventional PVDF: polyvinylidine fluoride POP: poly(oxyethylene glycol) polymer Conv.3 Comparisons made between melting/mixing devices with grooved and smooth feed zones for a range of polymers Screw Key Polymer LDPE A [13] LLDPE HDPE PS B [39] LLDPE PVDF C [40] PA11 PA12 LDPE D [7] E [19] F [41] G [27.5 63.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Table 7.

1975. Edmondson and R.R. Street. Maddock. 1982. multibarriers and so on. .Y. Thompson. 1959. References 1.N. 308. 2. 8. UK.F. 15.H. 16. 49. 1961. e) Screw design is continually developing: for example. M. London. Walker. Polymer Engineering and Science. M. 5. 1. 2000. 3. B. Gokhora and K.T. Grant and W. SPE Journal. Paper No. Polymer. British Plastics.P. 289. J. 6. double wave and combinations. Edwards. 40.Melting Table 7. International Plastics Engineering and Science.Polymer Extrusion 2. 383.R. Christiano. Fenner.4 Overall developments of screw and feed zone combinations Screw Conventional 1 2 3 4 5    Barrier   Feed Zone Smooth    Grooved   Last Zone Metering      Melting/ mixing elements     It should be noted that: a) 1 and 2 are still widely used b) 4 is used more in North America c) 5 is used more in Europe d) With 3 and 5 (grooved feeds) there are examples where the metering zone is considered unnecessary for pumping/rate controlling through the die and some or all of it will be replaced with melting and/or mixing devices. G. M.F. 1951. 9. Zayadine in Proceedings of the PRI Conference . 4. 1. L.17. 131 5. Donoian and J. 24. 2014. D. 6.

US 3. Maillefer. 40. Shrewsbury. USA. 1967. 21. 33.475. Uniroyal. assignee. 1998. 10. p. B. T. 13. Paper No. Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. Chung. Slusarz in Proceedings of the TAPPI Polymers.P. Gregory and L.192. assignee. Maillefer. UK. Geyer. SPE Journal.411. 19. Volume 1. C.223. C. Toronto.16. assignee. Masterbatch Flow Patterns in Polyethylene Extrusion. Chapter 4.. US 3. Modern Plastics. San Francisco. US 3. CA. 8.M. San Francisco. C. Gale in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. inventor. G. Womer and G.486.R. New York. LeRoy.L. Laminations and Coatings Conference. Maillefer. Paper No. 9. Braun in Proceedings of a Rapra Technology Seminar Screws for Polymer Processing: The Way to Better Productivity.W. Myers and R. assignee.428. Wortberg and R. inventors. 2.7. John Wiley. 1978. Shrewsbury. p.A. NY. p.. USA. 15. Laminations and Coatings. Book 1. inventor. Book 1. 1968.549. 2002. 1979. P. Steward and K.M. CH 363.483. Maillefer. 20. 23. 1968. Rapra Members Report No.B. Street. USA. J. 11. Inc. Union carbide. 16. E. C. G. inventor.H. 1995.149. Rauwendaal. Barr in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. GA. assignee. Rauwendaal in Mixing in Polymer Processing. CA. 12. Michels.48. San Francisco. 23. C.F.251. J. New Orlean . Frank W Egan and Company. Gale. 132. UK. R. 1998.I. inventor. 1977. Harrah in Proceedings of a TAPPI Conference Polymers. Shawbury. Shawbury.375. Ed. 7. 1963. Maillefer. 132 . CA. USA.179. C. 22. 17. 18.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 7. GB 964. Plastics Engineering. p. 1969. J. 34. Christiano. Canada. G. Maddock. and K. USA. Rapra Technology. 14.A.

Barr. US 4. Today and Tomorrow Antec 1990. USA.R. USA. UK. 25. Paper No. 31.A. 45. SPE Journal. Kunststoffe. p. Wang in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference . 8. J. Dallas. 2002. TX. Schoeppner. Prentice and J. Barr in Proceedings of the PLACE Conference and Global Hot Melt Symposium. P.293. Paper No. 56. Frankland in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference . Cincinnati. 36. USA. FL.12] 37.272. 1998. Paper No. 1998. Myers and R. USA. G. assignee. 291. GA. P. Volume 1. 4. Dallas. Orlando. MA. 27. Plastverarbeiter. Kruder and W. 30. 34. Fuchs. M. Pranckh. J.A.B.A. Volume 1. 19. p. Grünschloss in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference .Antec 1998.417.5. I. Plastverarbeiter. G. Boston. FL. 17. 797. Powers in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Technical Conference – Antec 1995. CA. Spalding. [English translation.P. Christiano and M. 133 . 1995.A. Klein. 1990. 1998 Paper No. 2001.N.S. Molding Systems. Shrewsbury. Kruder. J.Antec 2001. in Proceedings of the 60th SPE Annual Conference – Antec 2002. 3. USA.Antec 2007. 32. Hyun. 28. p. Qiu.Melting 23. 1979.173. TX. HPM Corporation. S. Somers. 1968.405 29. Grünschloss.A. 6. Hughes and J. Hull in Proceedings of Rapra Technology Conference Screws for Polymer Processing II. 33. F. V. 765.D.R. p. 38.R.Q.A. E. G. International Polymer Processing. 2002.R. Shawbury. Spalding and J. San Francisco. 28. 1972. D. Thompson in Proceedings of the SPE Annual Conference . USA. A.Antec 2000. Calland in Proceedings of the SPE 48th Annual Conference – Plastics in the Environment: Yesterday. M.521.15.A.N. 2.17-3. inventor. 32.251. USA. Volume 1. Orlando. K. Paper No. 2003. 91. K. Atlanta. 1968. 35. Schneider.A. 24.74. E. Myers and R. 26. 2007. OH. 19. USA. p.

G. Paper No. Wortberg in Proceedings of the 60th Annual SPE Conference – Antec 2002. M. New York. Panagopoulos. A. Ontario.S. 1999.105. San Francisco. T.J.703. Jr.Antec 1999. 1999. Toronto. 40. K. 41. Laminations and Coatings Conference.A. p. Hyun.A. Canada. 134 .. Hogan. Hall in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference .Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 39. p.124. USA. M. CA. Spalding. NY. USA. in Proceedings of the TAPPI Polymers.

and into the extruded pipe. which will decrease in thickness and grow in length.the mechanism available for mixing in single screw extruders. there may be little opportunity for striation thinning to any degree.13.1 Striations: Their Formation and Mixing in the Screw Channel Striation formation is an essential part of the distributive mixing process. It is also evident that pellets melting early have a greater opportunity for striation thinning than those melting later but with the decline in thinning as predicted in Figure 2. When higher output rates result in very late melting.12 and 2. The early investigations into melting behaviour and flow patterns in single screw extruders used mixtures of pre-coloured pellets. 135 . In Chapter 2 it was shown diagrammatically how an individual pellet was transformed into a striation in a simple laminar shear field . With lateral stretching in blow moulding. or cable.8 Screw Channel Mixing and the Application of Mixing Sections 8. it was reasonable to assume that masterbatch striations were formed initially by the melting process and that once formed they could persist through the metering zone.13 (Chapter 2) the rate of extension (and decrease in thickness) will steadily decline as it journeys down the channel. Clearly this is not always achievable: a wide range of striation problems were described in Chapter 1 and many examples have been described in published articles [1. etc. overall differences will be reduced. striations in bottles and containers were particularly obvious. As these showed the presence of individually coloured laminar streaks. It was also explained that the orientation in the direction of shear resulted in the decreasing effectiveness of the flow field in reducing striation thickness. but as in the model situation of Figures 2. It can be predicted that every coloured pellet will be transformed into an individual striation. adaptor and die. The overall mixing requirement is to reduce the striation thickness to a value which represents an overall acceptable product whether visually or with respect to its physical properties. 2].

Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion As the shear mixing occurs following melting. Individual black masterbatch pellets were added at timed regular intervals. then in the route map of Chapter 4. we need to consider the mixing behaviour within the screw channel from the onset of melting through the remaining journey of melting completion and metering zone. 136 . They showed that each pellet was transformed into a ribbon initially in the form of a tail which circulated around the channel cross section Figure 8. The extruder was run with the pellet feed maintained by hand at a level just covering the screw.1 Formation of laminar striation patterns by intervening plate and pipe die spider. Cross channel sections confirmed that striations were formed during melting of individual masterbatch pellets. After a suitable overall extrusion time the extruder was stopped. rapidly cooled and the screw ejected with a hydraulic ram. Experiments carried out using a 38 mm extruder with a screw jacking facility verified that individual masterbatch pellets were transformed into individual finite striations during melting [3]. A pipe grade low-density polyethylene (LDPE) was used with masterbatch pellets containing 40% carbon black.

137 . screen packs. removed following axial barrel splitting after cooling.1: see also Figures 1. 8. Mixing during melting improved with increasing screw speed and to a lesser extent with decreasing barrel temperature. This will be the cumulative pressure due to breaker plates.2 Mixing During Melting Benkreira and co-workers [4] examined mixing during melting by measuring striation thickness of samples cut from the melting region of screw channel samples.3 Mixing in the Melt Filled Screw Channel Following completion of melting. This melt pumping stage is expected to provide polymer mixing whether for additive incorporation. Twenty µm thick microtomed sections were used with measurements of striation thickness at ×100 magnification using image analysis.Screw Channel Mixing and the Application of Mixing Sections and also in a down channel direction. The ribbons formed a variety of patterns which were difficult to follow due to differing starting positions in the solids bed together with drag and pressure flow influences described in Section 8. 8.. Mixing assessment showed a high level of mixing on melting which then declined with little change thereafter except for the increase in size of the melt pool. most of the mixing occurs during the very first stage of pellet melting. It is evident that the situation described in Chapter 2 showing how the striation thickness declines rapidly during initial shear strain but then reduces very slowly thereafter applies to the melting stages i. The polymer was high-density polyethyelene (HDPE) and the feed was a 1:9 ratio of black pellets containing 5 wt% carbon black and natural polymer. and continued through the adaptor and both strand and tube dies. feed pipes etc. As circulating laminar flow conditions continued for the full length of the screw. blending or thermal homogenisation to give a uniform melt temperature. patterns were formed depending on the intervening geometry (Figure 8.3.3 and 1.e. The screw channel is normally at its shallowest in order to provide the required discharge pressure although the depth and length have optimum dimensions to achieve the maximum output rate for a particular die head restriction and consequent back pressure [5]. the metering or pumping section of the screw pushes the molten polymer at a constant rate through the die.4). but persisted in the melt. laminar streaks became longer and thinner. In so doing. but this was no longer the case at the end of the screw.

The basic starting point is the laminar shear flow of a viscous fluid between a stationary and moving plate. i. The design equation for this pump is: Q= V0 WH WH3 (P1 − P2 ) + L 12µ 2 Where Q = output rate P1 = channel inlet pressure P2 = channel outlet pressure N = cylinder rotation speed V0 = plate or cylinder velocity = πND W = channel width H = channel height L = length D = diameter 138 . As this arrangement for a pump will be restricted by the length of the plate.3). The next stage is to confine the fluid between two walls. They then moved back a step to arrive at the established model of the unwound screw channel.2). They developed a screw in barrel arrangement in a series of steps starting from the simple moving infinite flat plate pump model.e. a continuous dragging moving surface is needed. and then impose a finite length with melt inlet at one end and a forming die at the other (Figure 8.7). There is a velocity gradient within the viscous polymer melt between the moving and stationary surfaces. This is achieved by curving the channel to form a semicircle fitted inside a rotating cylinder which replaces the flat moving plate (Figure 8.. The fluid is static at the surface of the stationary plate but moves with the surface of the moving plate.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Tadmor and Gogos [6] have used a logical stepwise approach to modelling the mechanisms and relationships of screw pumping and mixing. With the uniform velocity gradient associated with a viscous fluid between the moving and stationary plates. within a channel. the material between moves in the same direction at a velocity dependent on its relative distance between the stationary and moving plates (Figure 2.

5). die outlet.7 degrees (Figure 8. the simple solution is to twist the channel so that it overlaps itself and winds into a spiral with a pitch of one channel width (plus wall) (Figure 8.. the greater the pressure that can be developed and hence the higher the output rate that can be developed against the die restriction. heaters.3.6). cooling fans or pipes etc. but it is limited by inlet and exit problems. W. The feed inlet. then the helix angle of the flight at the barrel surface will be 17. This optimum depth is given by: H opt = 3Q WV0 3) Channel length.Screw Channel Mixing and the Application of Mixing Sections To make analysis easier. it depends on the extruder output rate and the die restriction: a drinking straw (high) or a water pipe (low). This provides an ‘indefinite length’ without compromising the other variables. the equation is re-arranged to:  V Q  P2 − P1 = 12µ L  0 2 −  3  2H WH  Where: P2–P1 is the pressure developed by the pump This shows: 1) Increasing channel width. but is skewed at an angle defined by the transformation from a ring to a spiral. A rotating screw in a fixed barrel gives the same result as a fixed screw in a rotating barrel and is obviously the more practical arrangement for product extrusion. are fixed and a motor can rotate the screw. With L limited by the sleeve diameter in the arrangement shown in Figure 8. H: at a given flow rate there is an optimum channel depth for a maximum pressure i. 139 . In considering the pumping/mixing relationship. increases pressure.e.. 2) Channel depth. the screw in the rotating barrel is now unrolled back to the straight channel and moving plate (as in Figure 8. The moving plate is no longer moving in the direction of the channel. the angled movement of the barrel surface with respect to the channel results in an extended flow path and hence shear strain which increases mixing. Fortuitously.4). L: The longer the channel. If the spiral was the pitch of a typical extruder screw of one flight turn per screw length equal to one diameter.

(Adapted from Z. Principles of Polymer Processing.3 Flat drag flow extruder rearranged into a semicircle to provide a continuous dragging surface.2 Melt pumping a viscous fluid by dragging a plate over a channel. Gogos. New York. NY. NY. New York.G. 1979) Figure 8. USA. Principles of Polymer Processing. Gogos. (Adapted from Z. Tadmor and C. John Wiley. John Wiley. USA.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 8. Tadmor and C. 1979) 140 .G.

USA. Tadmor and C. (Adapted from Z. USA. New York.Screw Channel Mixing and the Application of Mixing Sections Figure 8.G. John Wiley. 1979) 141 .4 Extension of channel length by rearranging to form a spiral. Gogos. (Adapted from Z. Tadmor and C. Gogos. New York.5 Unrolled spiral showing barrel surface angled to channel and compared with unrolled half cylinder. 1979) Figure 8.G. NY. John Wiley. Principles of Polymer Processing. NY. Principles of Polymer Processing.

6 Flight helix angle.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 8. 142 .7 Trajectory of a particle showing down channel flow. Figure 8.

When reaching the flight at point A it will be forced downwards to the bottom of the channel at point B (Figure 8.7°. The overall trajectories will depend on the relative drag and pressure flow conditions as in Figure 8.Screw Channel Mixing and the Application of Mixing Sections As a result of the relative movement across the channel at an angle equal to the former helix angle for the spiral.7). This applies to both cross channel and down channel relative velocities. this is a section through a straightened melt flow spiral within the channel [6]. Figure 8. It will then travel back across the channel near the bottom of the channel during it’s overall down channel journey to C and resurface at D when it reaches the opposite side. The photomicrograph of a screw channel cross section in Figure 8. Figure 8.10(a) where there is only drag flow and no pressure flow. Although shown as a closed loop. particularly die back pressure. the return path across the channel tends to be sensitive to outlet pressure resistance due to die restriction (pressure flow). The viscous fluid movement between flights at the plate surface has to be balanced by a return journey at the bottom of the channel whilst moving down channel all the time. movement of the plate at typically 17. but the returning flow in the bottom of the channel is sensitive to any restriction to flow. Drag flow induced by the barrel surface moving along and slightly across the channel provides consistent down channel forwarding. we get the particle trajectory shown in 143 .9 clearly shows the non-circulating layer at two-thirds of the channel depth.10.8 shows the cross channel circulating flow.8 Cross channel flow behaviour. With a closed discharge. This spiralling path is then repeated. With an open discharge a particle circulating near the barrel and screw surfaces will follow the trajectory shown in Figure 8. At a point two-thirds the total depth. a tracer particle travelling down the channel near the plate surface will veer towards the flight. there will be no cross channel movement. As the velocity gradient reduces from maximum at the moving plate/barrel surface (the drag flow) to zero at the stationary plate surface.

10(c) in which the particle circulates as shown. In the first situation there is a very narrow time distribution (or RTD) with little or no mixing. This action is normally limited by both reduced productivity and increased melt temperature from shear heating. we would get plug flow. All viscous fluid mixing operations raise melt temperatures to a varying extent depending on the intensity and efficiency of the process. a few would get there quickly. which is a measure of mixing which is taking place. If an extruder could operate like this. no mixing. the pressure flow will give trajectories intermediate between those for open and closed discharge (Figure 8. To achieve this. As a result the group would be well mixed with the other travellers. left to themselves. 144 . It provides a combination of forwarding and mixing whereby mixing can be increased at the expense of forwarding by deliberately increasing back pressure.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 8. However. In the extrusion situation the two extremes are achieved by: 1) Plug flow 2) Laminar flow as shown in Figure 8.e. making no progress down the channel. the barrel outlet is restricted with fine screens or a valve. Plug flow: if the walls of a channel were perfectly lubricated. others would take longer. Laminar flow: the velocity gradient causes an increase in interfacial area between adjacent layers. Data to produce such curves are easily obtained by practical experiments using tracers. if a second material was added for a fixed time. 8. This is the normal extrusion situation. There would be no increase in interfacial area.10(b)). and a number would tour the shops and arrive just in time to catch their flight. At intermediate die pressures.12. and in the second. Furthermore. fine screens are often necessary for the removal of agglomerates. it would appear at the outlet over the same time period. they would arrive at the same time and would not be mixed up with other travellers. If a second material was added at a fixed time it would appear at the outlet with a changing concentration over a period of time as shown in Figure 8. so any mixing improvement from the resulting increase in pressure will be a bonus. there would be no mixing. i.11. On the other hand. All the viscous fluid would travel at the same rate with no shearing between layers.. a wide RTD and good mixing.4 Residence Time Distribution (RTD) If a tour group were to be shepherded by their leader from airport check-in to departure gate. contaminants and hard gels.

University of Bradford UK. NY.9 Photomicrographs of screw channel cross-section showing noncirculating layer at two-thirds depth. Shales.Screw Channel Mixing and the Application of Mixing Sections Figure 8.G. Mixing of Thermoplastics in Single Screw Rextruders. Gogos. USA. 1989.W. [PhD thesis]) Figure 8.10 Influence of die back pressure on drag flow and pressure flow. 1979) 145 . Tadmor and C. Department of Chemical Engineering. John Wiley. (Reproduced with permission from R. (Adapted from Z. Principles of Polymer Processing. New York.

A comparatively simple technique used by Bigg and Middleman was to introduce a dyed fluid into a nearly empty hopper and measure light transmission through the extrudate for samples taken at regular time intervals [7]. Wolf and White used radioactive tracers [8].11 Plug flow and shear flow. 146 . Figure 8.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 8.12 Residence time distribution (RTD).

2 Variation of Residence Time with Channel Position Referring to the mixing process mechanisms described in Sections 8. but that a long RTD (particularly as there can be a long tail as indicated in Figure 8.g. discolouration. An additional factor in the case of single screw extruders is that the smaller the extruder.3 Implications of Pressure/Drag Flow Effects The direct effect is that RTD smoothes out variations in additive concentrations. (verified by Wolf and White [8]) shows that only about 5% of the output exceeds double the mean residence time.4.4. e. the variables of screw geometry and flow restriction effect down channel velocity profile but not those of the cross channel. This applies particularly to the mixing cams.1 Concentration Smoothing The main advantage of RTD is that it smoothes out small variations in composition and consequently it is of particular interest in twin screw extrusion [9] where the polymer’s journey through the machine is in closed cavities for all or part of the barrel.. the further apart masterbatch pellets will be spaced in the feed zone in relation to the overall length of the screw channel [10]. Whilst the layers nearest the screw and barrel are spiralling around the top and bottom of the channel to give good lamina shear mixing. and use of reverse pitch etc.3. 147 .Screw Channel Mixing and the Application of Mixing Sections 8. and excessive scrap when changing colours etc.4. However.12). as used for single pass unplasticised polyvinylchloride powder compound extrusion for pipes. the theory. but to varying degrees overall depending on the configuration used. Furthermore a spiralling particle spends less of its time above the 2/3 h level than below it. The tightly intermeshing screws of counter-rotating twin screw extruders can form closed cavities for the length of the barrel. The overall effect is that the 2/3 h region and a significant area on either side have a relatively short residence time. but the relative residence times near the top (barrel surface) and particularly in the bottom of the channel are much greater. window profiles etc. may result in thermal degradation. The intermeshing screws of co-rotating twin screw compounding extruders will also form closed cavities.2 and 8. the area centred on the stationary (with respect to cross channel flow) two-thirds depth layer travels down channel at a faster rate. gels. 8. 8.

re-orientate laminar striations. In addition to improving mixing. polymer stagnation and potential cleaning problems. be continuous like a chocolate bar or separated. and pass on through the die into the product. For example. Elastic memory of the differences in shear history between material in the centre and outer screw channel regions may contribute to ripples in clear flexible polyvinylchloride sheet [11] and cause other rheological defects. Vanes. conventional extruder screws need the addition of mixing sections to re-distribute. The theory quoted assumed no leakage over the screw flights. In an attempt to rectify this situation. 8.5.1 Maddock Mixer The Maddock element. excessive heat generation. Erwin [13] commented. is often (and possibly inappropriately) used as the standard for judging other mixers. the designs have to take into account potential disadvantages of reduced output rate. pins. and (where necessary). a very wide range of mixing sections has been devised to disrupt the ordered flow patterns within the screw channel. illustrated in a graph by Colbert described by Lupton [12]. strange ducts of unusually shaped pieces of metal are incorporated in the melt channel to improve mixing. ‘These mixing sections are most remarkable for their variety. This mixer does contribute to distributive 148 . but the studs may be square or diamond. Worn screws give better mixing.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion The flow patterns which produce this effect in a single screw give a spread of laminar shear strain such that additives in central regions of the screw may have thicker striations than those that circulate around the regions nearer the screw and barrel surfaces.’ This causes a problem in choosing which mixer would be the best for a particular application. Both theory and practical experiments show that to be certain of adequate mixing of additives. a pineapple mixer has studs which may have some resemblance to a pineapple. 8. but at a disproportionate loss in output rate.4. described in Chapter 7. large or small.5 Mixing Sections Having followed the polymer through the melting stage and melt pumping/metering stage we have a situation in which striations could well survive the limited mixing capability of the melt pumping stage.

flow through or around interrupted reverse flights.Screw Channel Mixing and the Application of Mixing Sections mixing but it is primarily a melting device. the striations (which were divided into segments at the mixer entry) remained aligned for most of the time with the direction of shear.13 and 8. To some extent. Even so the term ‘Maddock’ has been used to describe mixers resembling the original Le Roy patent in having inlet and outlet channels separated by a barrier but otherwise are completely different [14]. The Maddock type mixer shown in Figure 7.5.6 designed to fit a 38 mm extruder is typical of the many based on Maddock’s 1967 paper [15].14. 8. was always lamina. 149 . An understanding of the strengths and limitations of these mixers was comprehensively demonstrated by Martin.13 Mixing pins arranged axially. Experiments described in Chapter 7 showed that although mixing is improved by the Maddock mixer. It was found that although mixing elements produced a new arrangement of streamlines by dividing striations. In a comparatively early paper [16]. An advantage for experimentation is that its geometry and design is comparatively firmly established. Martin reported findings from screw mixer samples (from screw jacking) and mixing performances for slotted flight mixers over a range of output rates. Figure 8. the same limitations apply to both pin and slot mixers and probably to most of the numerous ‘obstruction-flow-around’ mixers which have been devised.2 Pins and Slots There are many possible arrangements of which two for pins are shown in Figures 8.

Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 8. (Reproduced with permission from D. 64. 1974. ©1974. (Reproduced with permission from D. Hanser Publishers) 150 . ©1974.15 Influence of mixing pins on polymer flow. 11. Hanser Publishers) Figure 8.14 Mixing pins arranged radially. Boes. 11. 1974. 641. 641. Kunststoffe. 64. Kunststoffe. Boes.

15(b)). Laminar shear mixing will be momentarily significantly increased due to the relative movement in the short channel formed by the gap between pins and the barrel surface (Figure 8. 641. after the streams are split. comparing two slotted reverse flight mixing screws with two standard screws of differing channel depths and a turbine type mixer as discussed in Chapter 9. 1974. In spite of these limitations.16 Mixing quality versus output rate relationship for four screw arrangements. With slotted reversed flights and mixing plates. The results show the shallower screw performed better than the 151 . ©1974.Screw Channel Mixing and the Application of Mixing Sections Figure 8. (Reproduced with permission from D. Boes. 9 = poor). Photomicrographs of sections covering a scale of 9 examples from good to poor mixing (1 = good. 11. they re-unite behind the pins so that. 64. were used for comparisons using a 30 mm 20D extruder over a range of output rates. longitudinal mixing is only slightly improved compared to a screw devoid of a mixing section (Figure 8.15(a)) [16]. Kunststoffe.16). significant improvements were demonstrated (Figure 8. Hanser Publishers) Similarly with pins. gaps need to be large enough to achieve both melt flow through the gaps and avoid excessive heat generation.

and pressure drop. This would have been due to the point of melting completion moving further downstream as speed increased. However. A particular variable is the influence of back pressure due to the mixer on both melting rate and mixing in the screw channel.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion deeper one.8% masterbatch.17 [17]. from rating 1 at 5 kg/h to rating 6 at 9 kg/h.3 Mixer Evaluation Using an Independent Drive When comparing mixing devices by measurement of striation thickness in the extrudate.3). 8. An equal length of screw and a plain annulus (like the Couette model in Chapter 2) were used as controls.g.. 152 . and the two reverse pitch slotted flight screws gave significant improvements in mixing. An arrangement used by the author is shown in Figure 8. e. for these examples. under normal extruder arrangements the results are for overall mixing by both extruder screw and attached mixer. At the same time a variety of mixers were evaluated in an attempt to compare this particular mixer with a range of known mixing devices. data was required on power consumption. mixing deteriorated considerably as output rate was increased. A technique which avoids this problem is to decouple mixing from extrusion. temperature rise. Boes also found that the movement of melting completion towards the screw tip also caused a greater colour development in the outer zones of the parison. Figure 8. The same effect was found by Boes [1] for blow moulded parisons containing 0. The primary objective was to obtain data on the influence of cavity size of the cavity transfer mixer (CTM) (described in Section 9. In addition to mixing performance.17 Mixer evaluation arrangement using two extruder feeds.5.

Cavity spherical radius 15. Mixer C Figure 8. Rotor shown with one stator half.18. 153 . Polymers used were LDPE.18.20. A short screw with pitch equal to diameter with a constant root diameter of 25. Mixer E Figure 8. A cavity transfer mixer with 6 cavities circumferentially and 7 rows of cavities axially. Cavity spherical radius 7. 2) By varying the mixer speed independently of the extruder output. root diameter 22 mm with 9 square pins circumferentially and 9 rows axially. The mixers used (which fitted within a 32 mm barrel or stator) were as follows: Mixer A Figure 8. but there was no mixer cooling. The pins were nominally 5 mm square. Mixer D Figure 8.5 mm. a better assessment of mixing performance can be made. Mixer melt temperatures and pressures at the mixer entry and strand die were recorded. There were two further advantages for this configuration: 1) Power consumption (from torque and speed measurement) can be more accurately measured by separating the mixer drive from that of the extruder.4 mm. Stator not shown. The torque was measured by strain gauges bonded to the mixer drive shaft with the signal recorded via a radio transmitter attached to the shaft. Black material: Polymer compounded with 5% of a 40% carbon black masterbatch. and fed by two 25 mm 20:1 L/D single screw extruders with identical screws running on polymer pigmented black and white respectively.19. White material: Polymer compounded with 1% titanium dioxide.9 mm. the increase in power consumption due to the mixer was too small to give a significant measurement. A cavity transfer mixer with 3 cavities circumferentially and 5 rows of cavities axially. HDPE and polypropylene (PP).19. When measurements were made with a wattmeter attached to an extruder. An annulus formed by a plain cylindrical barrel with a plain rotor (a Couette arrangement) Mixer B Figure 8.Screw Channel Mixing and the Application of Mixing Sections Using this rig the mixer under test was rotated by an independent variable speed drive (with speed measurement). both having been pre-compounded with a twin screw extruder. A cylindrical rotor.

e. results only for HDPE are shown.22 (bottom). screw. 40. the generation of torque..26. pressure drop and temperature rise data for these mixers was not completed. 8.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Mixer F A similar mixer to the one described in reference [18]. The mixing performances of the small and large cavity versions were very similar.20. two cavity transfer mixers and a pin mixer were in the 80-110 watts range.345 MPa. Core diameter 25 mm with 12 blades circumferentially and 9 rows axially with adjacent rows displaced 15 degrees. Similar to H with 8 channels in the rotor [19]. an axial gap of 3 mm was machined between adjacent rows of blades and its designation changed from F to G. A pineapple mixer with 7 rows of studs axially and 6 rows of studs circumferentially. and as a result. 60 and 80 rpm.25 and 8. Mixer H A matching rotor and stator with 5 axial semi-circular section channels in the rotor and 8 similar channels in the stator. With constant extruder speeds of 50 rpm. Once mixing performance had been established. Bar charts for temperature rise. Drive power for annulus. The individual mixing performances were generally similar for the three polymers used. Stator not shown. Mixer G Figure 8. Channel radius 4 mm. Mixer G and pineapple mixers were 170 watts and above. but was +0.22 (top). the mixers were run at 0.25).23 shows that the two cavity transfer mixers had the best mixing performance with either no visible striations or virtually none at 20 rpm. As comparisons between different mixers were very similar for the three polymers. Figure 8.21. As mixer F had poor mixing performance.69 MPa for LDPE and -0. pressure drop and power consumption are shown in Figures 8. Pressure drop with HDPE was neutral for the screw at the selected speed. Mixer I Mixer J Figure 8. A pineapple mixer [20] with 15 rows of studs axially and 12 rows of studs circumferentially (Figure 8. pressure generating.24. i. Figure 8. the overall performance became of less interest for the less commonly used mixers. for PP. Mixer K Figure 8. Melt temperatures followed similar trends to drive power except for Mixer G. 20. 154 .

Gale. Shrewsbury. Rapra Technology. 1984) Figure 8. Development of the Cavity Transfer Mixer for Plastics Extrusion. Rapra Technology. UK. Rapra Members Report No. Shawbury. Shrewsbury. Gale.104.18 Mixer A (top).20 Mixer E (top).M.19 Mixer C (top). (Reproduced with permission from G. 1984) 155 . (Reproduced with permission from G. Mixer G (bottom). Development of the Cavity Transfer Mixer for Plastics Extrusion. Development of the Cavity Transfer Mixer for Plastics Extrusion. Shrewsbury. Shawbury. Mixer D (bottom).104.M. Shawbury. UK. Mixer B (bottom). Rapra Members Report No. Rapra Members Report No. Gale.Screw Channel Mixing and the Application of Mixing Sections Figure 8. Rapra Technology. (Reproduced with permission from G. UK.104. 1984) Figure 8.M.

Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion

Figure 8.21 Mixer I (Stator not shown). (Reproduced with permission from G.M. Gale, Development of the Cavity Transfer Mixer for Plastics Extrusion, Rapra Members Report No.104, Rapra Technology, Shawbury, Shrewsbury, UK, 1984)

Figure 8.22 Mixer K (top), Mixer J (bottom). (Reproduced with permission from G.M. Gale, Development of the Cavity Transfer Mixer for Plastics Extrusion, Rapra Members Report No.104, Rapra Technology, Shawbury, Shrewsbury, UK, 1984)

By noting from the photomicrographs such as those in Figure 8.23, the mixing speed required to eliminate striations, the mixing performances of the individual mixers can be compared. Comparisons of mixing performance using this criteria for HDPE, LDPE and PP are shown in Table 8.1 Comparisons of power requirements, heat generation and pressure drop were made from the instrumentation for each mixer. These values for mixing HDPE are compared in Table 8.2. The overall conclusions were that for the mixers in a smooth barrel (i.e., excluding C, D and I): 156

Screw Channel Mixing and the Application of Mixing Sections

Figure 8.23 Photomicrographs of extruded mixer samples at varying speeds. (Reproduced with permission from G.M. Gale, Development of the Cavity Transfer Mixer for Plastics Extrusion, Rapra Members Report No.104, Rapra Technology, Shawbury, Shrewsbury, UK, 1984) 157

Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion

Figure 8.24 Melt temperature rise across various mixers with HDPE. (Reproduced with permission from G.M. Gale, Development of the Cavity Transfer Mixer for Plastics Extrusion, Rapra Members Report No.104, Rapra Technology, Shawbury, Shrewsbury, UK, 1984)

Figure 8.25 Drive power with HDPE. (Reproduced with permission from G.M. Gale, Development of the Cavity Transfer Mixer for Plastics Extrusion, Rapra Members Report No.104, Rapra Technology, Shawbury, Shrewsbury, UK, 1984) 158

Screw Channel Mixing and the Application of Mixing Sections

Figure 8.26 Pressure drop across mixers with HDPE. (Reproduced with permission from G.M. Gale, Development of the Cavity Transfer Mixer for Plastics Extrusion, Rapra Members Report No.104, Rapra Technology, Shawbury, Shrewsbury, UK, 1984)

Table 8.1 Comparison of mixing performances for three polymers
Mixer A. Annulus (Couette) B. Screw C. CTM (small cavities) D. CTM (large cavities) E. Pins G. 9 rows/12 vanes I. Fluted rotor/stator J. Pineapple (small studs) K Pineapple (large studs) Mixer speed at which striations were eliminated (rpm) HDPE ›80 ›80 20 20 40-60 60-80* 40-80* 40 40->60 PP ›60 ›80 20 20-40 60 80* LDPE ›80 ›80 20-40 20 60-80 80* 60*

*These had a few striations which persisted over the indicated speed range


Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion

Table 8.2 Comparisons of heat generation, drive power and pressure drop for mixing HDPE
Mixer A. Annulus (Couette) B. Screw C. CTM (small cavities) D. CTM (large cavities) E. Pins G 9 rows/12 vanes I. Fluted rotor/stator J. Pineapple (small studs) K Pineapple (large studs)

Minimum speed (rpm) ›80 ›80 20 20 40-60 60-80 40-80 40 40-›60

Drive power (W) 90 75 105 95 85 ›180 170

Melt temperature rise (°C) 14 22 17 16 19 33 26

Pressure drop (MPa) 0† 1.035 0.69 2.415 5.52 2.07

As the screw was pressure generating, it ranged between positive neutral and negative for the three polymers.

1. The pin mixer was the best performing, with best mixing and overall lowest pressure drop, temperature rise and power consumption. It also proved very easy (and therefore of low cost) to make. The core was left as a polygon after turned flanges were slotted to form square pins. 2. The Pineapple mixer with the many small studs mixed much better than the one with fewer larger studs, but heat generation, power consumption and pressure drop (which are related), were very high. Possibly, variants resembling the pin mixer are better. Eitel and Funk [21] used a very similar arrangement to compare four mixers, again using a screw and a pin mixer. The mixers were as follows: 1) Standard screw, D 20 mm, channel depth 1 mm 2) Deep flighted screw with slots in the flights: D 20 mm, channel depth 4 mm 3) Shearing element 18 mm diameter 4) Pin mixer, diameter 20 mm, root diameter 16.4 mm 160

The material was LDPE.2 Mixers evaluated were: 1) Maddock type with tapered inlet and outlet channels 2) Pineapple with diamond shaped studs 3) Twente mixing ring (TMR): a rotor and stator arrangement 161 . Mixing speeds of 50. These blends consist of droplets distributed within a continuous phase. 80 and 120 rpm for 4 mixing elements. dispersive mixing is required to reduce the size of the droplets. in which the mixer was attached to one of the extruders. mixing improved) with speed and the pin mixer was again top of the mixing list as follows: 1) Pin mixer 2) Deep flighted slotted screw mixer 3) Standard screw 4) Shearing element However. Esseghir and co-workers [22] used a different arrangement of two extruders to isolate the potential varying influence of mixer back pressure on mixing. 80. a shear strain (distributive) mixing route may occur as described in Section 14. A graph of their results is shown in Figure 8.27. and 100 rpm for the pinned mixer. However. 80. the deep flighted screw improved considerably at 80 and 100 rpm to a similar value to the pin mixer. Standard deviation decreased (i. The steeper lines for the plain and slotted screws were attributed to their positive pressure build-up. for such a system.. Mixing element speeds 50. and 120 rpm for the other three devices. whilst distributive mixing will normally occur concurrently with dispersive mixing. with polymer in one extruder coloured with 2% blue pigment. Mixing was assessed by sectioning extruded 10 mm rod and calculating standard deviation of striation thickness using image analysis.e. A further difference was that incompatible blends of polystyrene and polyethylene were produced.Screw Channel Mixing and the Application of Mixing Sections Direct comparisons were made for: Mixing speeds of 50. In principle.

67.3 is a comparison of results of mixer evaluations from eleven published papers. The Pineapple mixer was better than the Maddock element. [English translation p. 81. Table 8. (Reproduced with permission from O. This particular device is included in Chapter 10 (floating ring mixers). ©1991.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 8. 1. the TMR mixer produced the best results. Overall. Carl Hanser Verlag) In common with the first of these three investigations decoupling mixing from extrusion a rotor/stator type mixer (TMR) was included. the complexity of making comparisons as indicated previously in this chapter means that a meaningful assessment requires close inspection of the original texts. Eitel and R. However. 162 . with so many variables inevitively present. Kunststoffe. Funk. 1991.27].27 Standard deviation of striation thickness against screw speed for 5 screw/mixer configurations. Simple comparitive ratings have been given where possible.

3 Summary of some published articles on mixing device performance Mixers Maddock + long gridded element Screw Screw + ET Screw Screw + ET mixer Screw Slotted flight Shearing Pins Slotted flights and discs/pins Maddock Pins Pineapple Barrier Maddock Rhomboid 3D1D Rhomboid 6D1D Pineapple Screw Maddock Screw Pineapple Triple flight Z Screw h = 1.5 mm.2 mm.Screw Channel Mixing and the Application of Mixing Sections Table 8. output = 1) Striations thinner + better output compared with normal screw [15] Strato.blend ABS Polymer blend Striations [28] ABS: Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene ET: Energy transfer HMWPE: High molecular weight polyethylene LLDPE: Linear low-desnity polyethylene VHMWPE: Very high molecular weight polyethylene *Ratings listed and numbered in order of performance 163 . [1] ABS LLDPE + LDPE Striations Output rate + melt fracture [22] [23] LDPE Colour (two inputs) 0.2 mm Slotted reverse flight 1D Slotted reverse flight 5D LDPE Black masterbatch Striations Polymer HMWPE Mix Pigment masterbatch Black and white pellets Polymer blend Measurement Striations Rating* Good results Thinner striations obtained with screw + ET 2 x output for ET 1) Pinned mixer 2) Slotted deep flight screw 1) Interacting pins 2) Pinned mixer Ref.2% masterbatch Colour materbatch Striations [20] VHMWPE Striations [24] LDPE Barrel window All similar at screw tip [25] HDPE Yellow masterbatch Striations 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 1) 2) 3) 4) Pineapple Maddock Rhomboid 6C1D Rhomboid 3D1D Screw Triple flight Z Maddock Pineapple Screw [26] LDPE Black masterbatch Window in die and camera and image analysis [27] 1) Reverse flight 5D (output = 3) 2) Reverse flight 2D (output = 4) 3) Screw (h = 1. output = 2) 4) Screw (h = 2.5 mm h = 2.

1983. 7. Shales and M. 1999.12. Paper No. Gale. 89. 164 . New York. D. Kunststoffe. 2. Polymer Engineering and Science. L. Advances in Polymer Technology. UK.M. White and D. Plastics Compounding: Equipment and Processing. Boston. Shawbury. K.B. Tadmor and C. 5. 18. M. Gale. Maddock.9] R. 1978. 11. 1976. 1974.H. 5. 1. 1979.H. SPE Journal. Germany. Zhu. 6. 1978. Benkreira. Shrewsbury. Edwards. A.16. USA. International Polymer Processing. Session 31. Rapra Technology. USA. UK. 12. 8. 2. D. 3rd edition. 2002.C. Luker in Proceedings of the TAPPI PLACE Conference. Plastics News (Australia). Newnes Butterworths.W. 15. 1972.532. H. 17. 7. Z. MA. G. 13. Patsch. Gogos. 1998. Kunststoffe. 66. NY. 64. J. C-Y. No. Wolf in Proceedings of the 36th Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. Munich. Wong. G. 35. 1992. London. Middleman. 14. 251.F. 65. Gale. 10. 4. G. 11. 12. 1997. Bigg and S. T. 7. 1997.G. 1959. John Wiley.M.M. B. Kunststofftechnik.99. 16. D. Lam and F. 3. 383. [English translation p. February. R. 15. 126. 1974. Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Fundamentals. Erwin.G. DC. 16. D. USA. 572. 1978. Rapra Members Report No. 10. 11. 14. Washington. 1. 329. 12. Martin. Extrusion of Plastics. Fisher. International Polymer Processing. p. Principles of Polymer Processing. 2. E. 1975. 641. Lupton. 13. Boes. Todd. 4. Masterbatch Flow Patterns in Polyethylene Extrusion.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion References 1. Hanser Publishers. Liu. British Plastics and Rubber.A. 9.

L. Funk. inventor. 67. Paper No.A. D. 2002. Hyun in Proceedings of the 60th Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. Hughes and J. USA. [English translation p.F. GA. Plastics and Polymers. 1971. CA. no assignee. GA. Harrah and T. Myers and R. USA. 1998. Y. USA.A. CA. Kunststoffe.C. C-Y. Paper No. 25.19. Wong and T. 27. USA. 20. A. 28.262. Advances in Polymer Technology. Teichmann. J. Estrada in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. 319.A.251. Eitel and R. 1.T. GA. MA. 1981. Dooly and K. del P. Dong-Woo. London.272. Pittman and G.S. Krueger in Proceedings of the Annual SPE ANTEC Conference – Creating Value Through Innovation. 1998.27] 22. Noriega and O. UK. Somers. Atlanta.267.L.810. Rios and T. 19. 29. 26. Atlanta. M. 17. 1. San Francisco.M. M. Esseghir. M. Spalding.Antec 1998. Gogas. USA. Volume 1.G. Barr in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. 24. USA. 1991.A. C. David. Somers. p.A.679.A. W.A. 21.284. Atlanta. 1998. 1957. USA. 143. p. Pitman in Proceedings of the PRI Conference Polymer Extrusion II. H. US 2. Boston. K. 23. Kosel. 81.614. S. Frankland in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference . Womer in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. 39. G. S. San Francisco.A.D. U. Volume 1.Screw Channel Mixing and the Application of Mixing Sections 18. Volume 1. 1. GA.159. 165 . Spalding. p. 1998. 2002. Atlanta. Todd and B.B. p.A. Lui in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. Volume 1. 1982. M. p. Osswald. J.R. J. O. Paper No.

Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 166 .

M. that in the majority of cases there is no clear disclosure on specific mixing objectives or achievements.1 Overview A surprising number of patents exist for such devices.A. Table 9. It appears from the little information available. Gale B Schroter and co-workers Company ICI ICI Metal Box Barmag Rapra Reifenhauser Design Rows of fixed and rotating teeth Improvements to 1955 patent Rows of overlapping key slots As Gerber with alternative construction Staggered overlapping hemispherical cavities Straight rows of rectangular cavities with rounded ends Reference [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] 167 . it is known that distributive mixing has been achieved at a high enough level to justify the relatively high cost of these devices for demanding applications. Gerber P.A. Renk G.9 Interacting Rotor/Stator Mixers 9.G. but only a few appear to have been used to any significant extent. Stanley K. In spite of this. The mixers known by the Author to have been used in production and in some cases still available are shown in Table 9.1 Interacting mixers used on production extruders Date 1955 1958 1965 1978 1980 1987 Inventor T. Stanley T.1.

plus 11 at 65 mm [8]. Kobe Steel had produced (under licence from Rapra) four 305 mm CTM. A particular known attribute of the Barmag. There appears to be no scale-up problems.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion ICI and Rapra designs were made available to the extrusion industry via licensees.1 Stanley (ICI) Mixer A turbine mixing head patented by ICI in 1955 [1. pipe line CTM 350 mm and 400 mm diameter have been manufactured by Aspin Engineering [9] 9. In addition. Barmag and Reifenhauser systems were made available to customers of their machinery. A feature in common is their application to larger extruders. Their development is covered in historical order. By October 1986. but this situation is not unusual. becoming unnecessary in some cases when price distortions and the polymer supply situation produced a switch back to extrusion of pre-compounded materials. The author has therefore (but not entirely) relied mainly on his own work at Rapra Technology on the cavity transfer mixer (CTM). 168 . 2] enabled polyethylene pipe manufacturers to meet appropriate pipe standards when feeding pellet blends of natural polyethylene and carbon black masterbatch into the pipe extruder. and at a later date. Two of the three suppliers are machinery manufacturers who have no reason to give away much technical information and hence for these two mixers. There are a few papers by others on this device but nothing from processors on any of these interacting mixers. reliance is placed on two articles from Barmag and a collection of press release type articles from Reifenhauser. and are still being made after about 25 years since their inception. The last three listed are logical developments of the first two. Rapra. The Metal Box system was used ‘in-house’. Hensen’s table of sizes in 1984 [7] ranged from 30 to 200 mm diameter.2. The turbine mixers were used by at least two large polyethylene pipe producers until being superseded by CTM.2 Turbine Mixing Heads 9. Until then it was necessary to use the more expensive pre-compounded material. and Reifenhauser mixers is their ability to incorporate liquid additives such as polybutene film tackifier and liquid colours by direct injection. part of a total of 29 ranging from 20 mm in steps of 10 mm.

1 Diagram from second ICI patent GB 787764 [1].1) in the 1958 patent [2] covering improvements to the mixer in the 1955 patent. The rotor formed a screw extension and the stator a matching barrel extension. The recommended space between the moving and stationary teeth was half the tooth thickness. and angling the faces of the teeth to be pressure generating. gives more detail but no construction details. 169 . Figure 9. Good results had been experienced with a 50 mm mixer having 684 teeth and a 150 mm mixer having 948 teeth. The improvements included offsetting alternate sets of rotor or stator teeth to avoid pulsations. The ICI 1955 patent [1] contains the simplest of sketches whilst the drawings (Figure 9. Its potential application as an independently driven mixing device was included in patent claims. but precautions were recommended to avoid engagement of fixed and moving teeth following thermal expansion.Interacting Rotor/Stator Mixers The turbine mixing heads consisted of alternate sets of fixed and moving teeth made by machining slots around the periphery of round discs: externally for the rotor and internally for the stator.

1971. Figure 9. 170 . Results showed the homogeneity of the extrusion with the turbine mixer over a wide range of screw speeds to easily outperform a pin mixer in a smooth barrel (Figure 9. Kosel. Figure 22. 39.M. ©1971.2) A disadvantage was that output rate with the turbine mixer was unsatisfactory.2% of the input particulate blend using virgin polyethylene in powder and crumb forms. a paper by Martin [11] included comparisons of mixing using slotted flanges and pins on a screw both in a smooth barrel and a pinned barrel.2 Mixing quality of difeerent mixing systems. Plastics and Polymers. (Reproduced with permission from U.2 Other Turbine Mixers In 1971. The Plastics and Rubber Institute) During the following year.2. With four rows of nominally square pins on both screw and barrel. Kosel [10] described a turbine head (which appears very similar to the ICI mixer). 143. distributive mixing deteriorated only slightly as output rate was increased. Homogeneity and pigment distribution was judged by using a masterbatch at a very low level of 0. 319. It was planned to reduce the number of pins.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 9. and 12 pins in each row. and compared it with a pin mixer within a smooth barrel.

The arrangement is shown in Figure 9. 1) Differences in axial thermal expansion between heated barrel and screw could cause intermeshing of turning and stationary teeth. this was accompanied by generation of unacceptable levels of shear heat [14]. but these mixers (known as ‘Fred-heads’. 9. 9. The Woodroffe key slot mixer avoided these problems.3 Woodroffe Key Slot Mixers Although the turbine mixer produced the mixing required to meet polyethylene water pipe standards. The pin barrelled extruder on the other hand with pins located in the barrel wall passing through slots in the screw flight has been well established in the rubber industry.3. 171 . This type of mixer has occasionally re-appeared including a comparison with a CTM when used with an independent drive [12] as described in the ICI patent.1 Gerber (Metal Box) Mixer Gerber devised an add-on mixer intended to give the same mixing effects as the turbine mixer whilst avoiding the two disadvantages described previously [3]. By having rows of slots similar to Woodroffe key slots arranged circumferentially both in the cylindrical rotor and similarly in a cylindrical stator with the rows displaced axially by one half pitch. 2) The layer by layer dismantling for cleaning and the subsequent re-assembly was time consuming. increasing output rate resulted in a steady decrease in mixing (Figure 8. with consequential damage. problems could arise from two inherent features of the arrangement. The turbine arrangement has also been combined with tapered roller bearings to prevent teeth engagement [13] but although mixing performance was good. The only published information is the 1965 patent [3].3 [3]. Adjustment during heating from cold and start-up could result in long overall extrusion line setting up times.16). They gave good mixing of colour masterbatches and re-used bottle trimmings. Hence the tapered roller bearing device referred to previously. after the engineer who made them) were used by the company on blow moulding machines. with the cutting of the turbine teeth being achieved by the edges of the passing slots. the polymer alternated between cavities in the rotor and stator.Interacting Rotor/Stator Mixers With pins only on the screw.

Gerber. Reproduced with permission from K.185. US 3.4 [4]. An arrangement is shown for the stator in Figure 9.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion View of half stator Figure 9. Application of the mixer to fibre spinning has been described by Hensen [7] and by Dickmeiss [15]. (Drawing from K. 172 .3 Metal Box key slot mixer. 1965 [3]. Gerber) 9.3.2 Renk (Barmag) Mixer Renk [4] used a similar geometry to Gerber but simplified the construction by machining slots into rings which were assembled on a rotor mandrel and in a stator sleeve to enable complete dismantling for cleaning.174.

4 Barmag Key Slot Mixer.Interacting Rotor/Stator Mixers Figure 9. Figure 15.e. Advances in Polymer Technology. An additive injection port is shown at the mixer entry. 3. 2) An independently driven mixer which has the flexibility to provide the required mixing for the injection of additive from a side feeding extruder. 339. John Wiley and Sons) The number of slotted cavities on both rotor and stator is 11 for the full range of screw sizes. 4. Hensen. ©1984.6 are as follows: 1) An extension to the extruder. The three basic arrangements from [7] and [15] shown in Figures 9. 1984.. 173 . (Reproduced with permission from F. a rotor attached to the extruder screw and a matching stator as a barrel extension. The mixing effect was varied by the number of rings provided and the groove dimensions were varied to suit the material viscosity.5 and 9. 3) An independently driven mixer with additive or dye injection and integral metering pump such that the mixing corresponds directly with the throughput rate. i.

Figures 3 and 11. 1984. 20. John Wiley and Sons) 174 . Extrusion.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 9. ©1984. Figure 20. 4.5 Barmag options for feeding additives. Advances in Polymer Technology. 2. (Reproduced with permission from F. 2007.6 Melt spinning diagram. Dickmeiss. 3. Hensen. (Reproduced with permission from F. VM Verlag GmbH) Figure 9. ©2007. 339. 13.

The photomicrograph in Figure 9. 1984. it was used for mixing antistatic agents. 3. 4. Hensen.6 in which a side extruder feeds masterbatch into a mixer fitted to the main extruder which in turn feeds a number of spinnerets. An arrangement for melt spinning is shown in Figure 9. The gear pump metering the colour is coupled to the gear pump on the spinning heads in order to control concentration. 339.7 Photomicrographs of PA carpet fibres. stabilisers and dyes. (Reproduced with permission from F. ©1984. Figure 9.Interacting Rotor/Stator Mixers The arrangements gave the flexibility for melt temperature control. either heating or cooling. In 2007. Advances in Polymer Technology. Polymers were polyamides (PA). Figure 21.7 shows the very good distribution of 1% polyethylene oxide particles achieved in a 15 denier polyamide-6 carpet yarn. In addition to achieving distribution of fine pigments and fillers. over 100 of these units were reported to be in use for the production of fibres and films [15]. and the rotor could be extended with a short length of screw to compensate for pressure drop across the mixing area. John Wiley and Sons) 175 . polyesters and polypropylene.

3..1 Rapra Cavity Transfer Mixer Although the term CTM is sometimes used to describe all mixers with overlapping stationary and moving slots and cavities.1 Cavity Transfer Mixer Scale-up From the outset.4. the cavities were comparatively large in comparison to key slots. 9. Higher extrudate melt temperatures can slow down production by exceeding cooling capacity of downstream equipment.4. the slotted mixer described in Chapter 2 was developed as a successor to a combined roller bearing turbine mixer [13] which generated too much shear heat to be suitable for commercial polyethylene pipe extrusion. to differentiate between the staggered row geometry of hemispherical cavities which followed the parallel row Woodroffe key slots used in the A2-B2 mixer described in Chapter 2. The rotor and stator components were to be installed using the existing rotor shaft and stator housing. 176 . replacing the toothed plates of an ICI type turbine mixing head fitted to a 120 mm extruder producing black low-density polyethylene (LDPE) water pipe to BS standards.1. The results for this (A2-B2) mixer were sufficiently encouraging to carry out a trial on an industrial scale.4 Rounded Cavity Mixers 9. 3) Minimise risks of stagnation. the term was initially used at Rapra Technology Ltd. 4) Minimise heat generation resulting from increased shear rates generated by larger screw diameters of production extruders. The objective was to achieve the level of mixing required whilst eliminating the problems of intermesh described in Section 9. Unaware of the Gerber and Barmag patents. When scaling up from a 38 mm laboratory extruder to a 120 mm production extruder producing mains water pipe to British Standards there was concern that the following points needed attention: 1) Restriction to polymer flow should be minimal. 2) Lands between cavities should be minimised to avoid excessive generation of shear heat. as from an Erwin paper [16] the cutting and turning mechanism was an adjunct to the lamina shear mixing for the end result of good distributive mixing.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 9.

1.1. h the channel depth should be as deep as possible.Interacting Rotor/Stator Mixers 9. 9.4. The shear rate in a screw channel is given by: S= πDN h where S = shear N = screw speed D = barrel diameter h = channel depth As high shear rates produce heat and hence normally undesirable rises in melt temperature.1.1.1 Shear Heating The designs of the Metal Box and Barmag mixers appear to emphasise the cutting action.2 Pressure Drop Pressure drop across a slot or rectangular channel is given by: ∆P = K1 QhL Wh3 And for a circular hole by: ∆P = K 2 QhL πR 4 Where ∆P = pressure drop K1 and K2 = constants Q = volumetric flow rate h = viscosity L = length of slot or hole W = width of slot R = radius of hole h = height of slot This assumes R and h are small compared with L and W. This will also apply to mixer cavities.4. 177 . whereas theoretically there is an optimum balance between shear mixing and cutting/turning stages [16].

In scaling up from 38 mm to 120 mm. With the hemispherical cavities described below. Note that theoretical treatments of this mixer configuration have been made by Bromilow and Hulme [17]. that the shear rate is as low as possible. All these features must also take into account the need to minimise risks of polymer stagnation in deep cavities and fit the openings close together in both internal and external surfaces.8. 7) Rounding of corners to improve streamlining increases the land area and potential heat generation. the lower the pressure drop. the cavity arrangement was considered as follows: 1) When cavities are opposite cavities. Therefore. the overall interconnecting path can be roughly approximated to a series of round tubes and hence a small increase in radius will greatly reduce the restriction to flow. 178 . 4) Rotor cavities have to be fairly well spaced circumferentially to provide adequate wall strength. 5) Deep cavities minimise pressure drop and shear rate but minimise laminar mixing and are more likely to produce stagnation and cleaning difficulties. 3) The greater the cavity overlap between opposite rows. maximise cavity volume. the pressure drop is as low as possible and the streamlining to be very good (See comparisons of mixers C and D in Section 8. shear rates will be low and pressure drops will be low.6). such dimensions should be as large as possible consistent with minimal risks of stagnation. 6) Shallow cavities give good mixing with lower risks of stagnation but at the expense of high shear rates and pressure drops. The conflicting features of changing cavity shape to minimise land area. shear rates will be higher and pressure drops disproportionately higher. 2) When cavities are opposite lands. avoid stagnation from corners and depth are shown in Figure 9. Overall there is a need.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion This means that the smallest cross section of the cavities if they are approximately rectangular (as in the case of key slots) or the radius (as in the case of half cylinders or half spheres) will have a disproportionate effect on the restriction to flow. de Jong [18] and Wang and Manas Zloczower [19]. consistent with good mixing. The deeper the cavity the wider the rotor lands must be.

cavities consisting of split spheres would be appropriate. Rapra Technology) It was decided that the CTM should be nominally the same diameter as the extruder barrel (but minimally larger) such that the extruder screw would pass through the stator should this removal procedure be required whilst larger diameters might exceed torsional strength of the screw connection.Interacting Rotor/Stator Mixers Figure 9. Shrewsbury. Figure 3. the screw speed is unchanged. Shawbury. Rapra Technology.M. In practice screw speed is reduced as 179 . Based on this assumption. If. UK. Development of the Cavity Transfer Mixer for Plastics Extrusion. in scaling up.104. ©1984. Gale.8 Compromises with scaling-up overlapping parallel cavity rows with key slots.4. the output rate of an extruder will rise by the cubed power of the screw diameter. (Reproduced with permission from G. Rapra Technology Members Report No. 1984.

and variation in cross sectional areas during rotation has a small amplitude at a high frequency. 3) The configuration is streamlined with no corners for stagnation to occur. Figure 9. The potential advantages were as follows: 1) At any point during rotation each cavity is open to three opposite cavities with a large overlapping area being possible. Shawbury.10).104. (Reproduced with permission from G. 5) Within geometric constraints. 7) Cleaning and polishing can be carried out easily with rotary tools. 4) Shape is conducive to circulatory flow which can link with opposite cavities.9. Rapra Technology Members Report No. The use of hemispherical cavities enables cavities to be used in a staggered configuration as shown in Figure 9. 1984. Rapra Technology. UK. Development of the Cavity Transfer Mixer for Plastics Extrusion. Rapra Technology) 180 .9 Overlapping hemi-spherical cavities. ©1984. Figure 3.e. Shrewsbury.M. i. a wide range of cavity sizes can be used. This minimises pressure drop.. 6) Machining is comparatively easy.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion diameter is increased and hence the size of the spheres has been scaled up according to screw channel depth scale-up rules. 2) Land lengths are minimal so that shear rates are minimised.5. Gale. total channel depth is the sum of the opposite cavity depths (Figure 9.

Interacting Rotor/Stator Mixers Figure 9.104. Rapra Technology. ©1984. Rapra Technology Members Report No.10 Streamline flow through and within overlapping cavities. 1984. Development of the Cavity Transfer Mixer for Plastics Extrusion. UK. ©1984. Rapra Technology.104. Gale.M. Figure 3. Rapra Technology) 181 . Gale. Shawbury.8.11 38 mm mixer used to evaluate performance of overlapping circular cavities. Rapra Technology Members Report No. Shrewsbury. Figures 3.6. 1984. UK. Rapra Technology) Figure 9. (Reproduced with permission from G. Shrewsbury. (Reproduced with permission from G.M. Development of the Cavity Transfer Mixer for Plastics Extrusion.7 and 3. Shawbury.

4. Rapra Technology.1. Gale.2 Assessment of Mixing Performance by Striation Thickness Measurement A repeat was made of the experiment described in Section 2. a 38 mm mixer was constructed as shown in Figure 9. in which clear flexible polyvinylchloride (PVC) was extruded with a 38 mm extruder and a striation of flexible black PVC was injected from a 25 mm extruder through a transducer port just before the mixer entry.3.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion To evaluate the proposed geometry. The rotor was a solid extension to the screw with cavities machined using a ball-end milling cutter.104. Development of the Cavity Transfer Mixer for Plastics Extrusion. Figure 9. Following stabilisation of extrusion conditions the extruder was stopped.11.1. Rapra Technology Members Report No. The stator consisted of a machined cylinder having holes bored in the required pattern to form the circular open cavities which were blanked off to form closed cavities by a sliding fit within the cylindrical mixer body. For ease of construction. Shawbury. shows how the cavities overlap.12 Striation thickness ratio versus mixer stage for A2-B2 and round cavity mixers. ©1984.11b. UK. Rapra Technology) 182 . Figure 4. (in which the rotor has been inserted into the stator).M. 9. 1984. Shrewsbury.4.2. the 8 mm strand die removed and the rotor and stator removed Figure 9. the same housing was used for the stator as used for the A2-B2 mixer described in Chapter 2. (Adapted with permission from G.

©1980.Interacting Rotor/Stator Mixers together by ejecting the screw with a hydraulic ram.. Rapra Technology) 183 .12). A graph was drawn of to/tc against S where: to = striation thickness at mixer entry tc = striation thickness in the cavity S = number of cavity row (representing distance along the mixer) Using a log versus linear scale. the resulting graph had a straight line relationship as before but with a steeper slope (Figure 9. 9.3 Production Trials With a satisfactory performance from the 38 mm CTM. mixing performance was even better. the PVC was easily removed from the stator cavities as they were open on both sides. The unit ran satisfactorily in all respects and very significantly reduced Figure 9.13 Rotor and stator halves used to replace toothed discs in 120 mm turbine mixer extruding PE pipes. Following separation from the rotor. a 120 mm unit was fitted as a replacement for the toothed plates of an existing turbine mixer attached to the production extruder producing LDPE and medium-density polyethylene pipes to British Standards (Figure 9. i. Lawley. (Photograph taken by G. Microtomed sections were prepared and striation thickness measured using a microscope fitted with a graticule.13).4.1.e.

Lawley. ©1990.16). (Photograph taken by G. A photomicrograph is shown in Figure 9.14.4. the cavity sizes and clearances were increased for future mixers and the number of rows standardised at 4 or 5 for most applications (Figure 9.14 CTM (45 mm) for extruding XLPE pipes.2 Reifenhauser Staromix The Reifenhauser Staromix has rectangular cavities with rounded ends. This prototype CTM was used for 24/7 production for 11 years before being scrapped with the extruder. 184 . 9. Rapra Technology) start-up times compared with using the turbine mixer.14).15. the rotor and stator rows being a half pitch apart to provide a continuous path similar to the Gerber and Barmag mixers ([6] and Figure 9. Following further laboratory investigations. An unusually long CTM with 13 cavity rows for a special application is shown in Figure 9. arranged in parallel rows.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 9. This was followed by a production trial using a 114 mm vented compounding extruder where it enabled it to produce black polypropylene injection moulding compounds and other compounds to meet a range of standards.

Lawley. ©Rapra Technology) Figure 9.Interacting Rotor/Stator Mixers Figure 9.16 Reifenhauser Staromix. (Photograph taken by G. Reifenhauser) 185 . (Reproduced with permission from Reifenhauser ©1988.15 13 row production CTM for special application.

1984. Stanley. Gale. 1989.7649. 186 . inventor. 1958.A. 9. Shrewsbury. R. B.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 9.743. Stanley.M. Fellman and H-J. film down gauging could be increased whilst retaining properties. inventors. Inoue and S.174.Making the Most of the Cavity Transfer Mixer. 5. Rapra Technology. P.771. assignee.014. This screw/mixer combination could also be used for incorporating polybutene tackifier into blown and cast film. US 4. T. K. 4. 1983. T. 1965. Rapra lib. Renk inventor. Schwarz. A. 8.253. 2008.913. G. Concurrently. W. Gerber inventor. Fukumizu in Proceedings of the Rapra Technology Symposium . UK. Shroter. References 1.16 (continued) Reifenhauser Staromix (Drawing based on patent [9.. 1955. assignee.6]) In [20. inventor. Barmag. Paper 9. 1978. assignee. GB 787. Reifenhauser. US 3. ICI. Aspin Engineering Ltd. 1985. Hensen. inventor. This enabled additive introduction at the end of the barrel which reduced wear and increased the range of both additives and raw materials which could be used. (Private Communication). 3. ICI. 6. Metal Box. Shawbury. 4. 3. 339. 7. Bartels. US 4. US 4. Aspin. K.A.419.185. and achieve good masterbatch mixing during pipe extrusion. 21] the Staromix was combined with a two stage screw utilising a flight pitch change at the end of a grooved feed/transport zone and also included a peg mixer. assignee. 2.G. assignee. F. GB 841.556. assignee. Advances in Polymer Technology.

Rapra Technology. Reifenhauser News. International Polymer Processing. 11. 2007. 1985. Kunststofftechnik. Wang and I. 13. 319. UK. Paper 4. Rapra. p. 143. 2. 14.Making More of the Cavity Transfer Mixer. 33. Shrewsbury.T. Shrewsbury.Making the Most of the Cavity Transfer Mixer. Martin. J. Hulme in Proceedings of the Rapra Technology Symposium . 11. Kosel. 12. Packaging Week. 17. 12. 1988. Investigation of a Roller Bearing Mixer for Extrusion Compounding of Carbon Black with Polyolefins. 1996. UK. G. 6. 16. GB 2. Plastics and Polymers. Erwin. UK. C. 1979. Shrewsbury. 15. Polymer Engineering and Science. Penny. 1978. E. Shawbury. Gale. inventor. 14. 39. 1985. Bromilow and A. 329. December.048. 7. 20. Shrewsbury. UK. M.701. de Jong in Proceedings of the Rapra Technology Symposium . 18. 1991.M.Interacting Rotor/Stator Mixers 10. Manas Zloczower. 19. p. L. 21.14. Rapra Technology. 1988. Shawbury. 1971. Shawbury. G. 1980. assignee. 572. T.M. W. 2. Gale. Rapra Technology. Dickmeiss.W. Extrusion. F. 13. Mumford in Proceedings of the Rapra Technology Symposium Making the Most of the Cavity Transfer Mixer. 20. 11. Rapra Technology. 18.M. U. 1972. 115. Shawbury. Paper 3. Rapra Members Report 45.13 187 .

Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 188 .

thereby reducing the effective screw length. The potential disadvantage of reduced mixing capacity due to limited stator bore and short length can be more than compensated by the high mixing performance of interacting moving and fixed elements.2 Injection Moulding Check-ring Mixers It is not surprising that the melting and mixing limitations in single screw extruders can also occur in injection moulding.1). On the other hand. 189 . They are derived from the mixing version of the check ring used at the screw tip in an injection moulding machine. backflow up the screw channel by the molten polymer is prevented by some form of non-return valve such as a ‘check ring’ (Figure 10.10 Floating Ring Mixing Devices 10. During the injection part of the cycle. they required greater space than is normally available [1. If the mould volume is large in relation to the maximum shot capacity. as the screws used are very similar and often shorter than those used in extrusion. Although techniques have been devised. The check ring moves axially with the screw and rotates at a slower speed than the screw due to drag from a thin melt film between it and the barrel surface. The rotor and stator would move completely out of register as the screw reciprocates. 10. provided the cooling time is not increased as a result of additional heat generation by the screw. the back pressure can be increased to aid mixing.1 Introduction Floating ring mixers for extrusion use an interactive rotor and stator in which the stator floats as an uncoupled internal sleeve within the bore of the barrel. as the cooling time is usually longer than pre-plasticisation time. 2]. In the extrusion version. but the more efficient interacting pegs or cavities cannot be used in the same manner as for extrusion described in Chapter 9. then the length of screw available for both melting and mixing will be short when fully retracted. Maddock and pin mixing elements can be used. retrofitting will require substitution of the last few screw turns.

.2 Potential adaption for extrusion of the injection moulding check ring mixer by Elbe. Shawbury. (Reproduced with permission from M. Conference on Injection Moulding: Advanced Technology for Optimisation of Operational Performance.1 Injection moulding check ring. Gale in Proceedings of a Rapra Technology Ltd. 1994. Paper No.4. 190 .Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 10. Rapra Technology) Figure 10. ©1994.

Floating Ring Mixing Devices Figure 10. but at extra cost. Lack of cavity alignment during injection is of no consequence as there is no mixing requirement at this point in the cycle. Note that the check ring 191 . A re-arrangement of the holes in the ring from a staggered pattern to separate rows can be used to strengthen the ring to withstand injection pressures. and there are no potentially intermeshing projections. A schematic diagram by the author showing a possible adaption of Elbe’s pegged check ring mixer is shown in Figure 10. wide spacings may be adequate. An example of injection mouldings with a colour masterbatch. Nashville. 2003 p. A mixer developed by Twente University [6-10]. Slots or flutes resembling the outlet. For good distributive mixing of colour masterbatches. (Reproduced with mermission from C. The rotor and stator arrangement is similar to the prototype cavity transfer mixer (CTM) in Figure 9.3 Vortex mixer with pins interacting with flights. ©2003. with and without such a device is shown in Figure 10. SPE) Interacting elements can be incorporated providing the spacing accommodates the small axial displacement between the open and shut-off positions. USA.5.11. Rauwendaal. A complete injection moulding unit of this type is shown in Figure 10.5(a) and (b).3) and injection moulding [5]. Spacing of interacting pins in the ’turbine arrangements’ of Chapter 9 such that intermesh is avoided has been described by Elbe [3]. TN.183. A check ring mixer using interacting pins in the stator ring has also been described by Rauwendaal for use in both extrusion [4] (see Figure 10. placed at the mixer inlet might allow minimal relative axial ring movement and smaller clearances.4(a) and (b). R. the Twente Mixing Ring (TMR) using this principle has been shown (like other interacting rotor/stator devices) to outperform more commonly used Maddock and pin mixers [11] (see Section 8. Maurer and M.3).2. Scheuber in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC.

(a) (b) Figure 10. (b) Assembled.5 View inside injection moulded caps with back lighting. 192 . (b) With check ring mixer. (a) Components. (a) Without check ring mixer.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion (a) (b) Figure 10.4 18 mm Injection moulding (TMR type) check ring cavity mixer.

10. depending on the barrel clearance.Floating Ring Mixing Devices Figure 10.6) making it longer than the original in Figure 10. This is particularly useful for retrofitting to many blow moulding machines where splitting the clamp unit from the extruder is impracticable. there is compensation for the reduced mixing from the rotor/sleeve interaction by the through cavities in the rotating sleeve interacting with the barrel surface (Figure 10.1.6 Check ring mixer in forward and rear position with bore extended into nozzle. it will rotate with the screw approximately half the screw speed or less. as will be the case for the interacting units described in Chapter 9. for floating ring devices generally there is reduced mixing between the rotor and turning stator ring. 193 . particularly if the cavity rows overlap (Figure 10. the mixer can be accommodated within the barrel as part of the screw. but with the TMR. As the stator is free to turn. Being without the non-return valve function required for injection moulding it can be described as a ‘floating ring mixer’.3 Adaption of the Check Ring Mixer to Extrusion By transferring the check ring mixer concept to extrusion. mixer used was extended into the nozzle (Figure 10. There can be other situations where providing extra space between barrel face and die is difficult or expensive with existing extrusion installations.7). The advantages for extrusion is that there is no requirement to accommodate an extension between barrel and die. This will also reduce the risk of polymer stagnation in the sleeve/barrel gap. Compared with a fixed stator configuration.4).

between discs rather than between cylinders.7 Cross section of TMR type floating ring mixer showing flow patterns. The second cavity was connected to the next pair via a space between ring and barrel. some of it unmelted.10.4D mixers.. A comparison of three floating ring mixers has been made by Myers and co-workers [12] using a 63. i.e. Cross-sections of 1cm diameter strands showed the conventional screw had the most unmixed white sections. The Barr ring mixer had five rotor rings equally spaced on a central shaft with 6 floating rings alternating with the rotor rings (Figure 10. with extruder speeds of 40 and 80 rpm. Although initial costs will be lower than for addon mixers. 194 .8). The disadvantage is that there will be less screw available for melting/pumping. The mixers compared were a TMR and two Barr mixers. 21D (diameters) extruder with the screw length reduced to 19D to provide space for the mixers.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 10. and the length of the mixer is restricted. polymer was subjected to a mechanism partly resembling a CTM. the ring kept centrally by raised flanges between each diversion (Figure. Experiments were performed using black and white acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene pellets in a ratio of 220:1 white to black. but at right angles rather than in-line. About 60% of the ABS entering the mixers was white with no black mixed in.9). the need for occasional replacement of worn injection moulding check rings may also apply to extruders. which created big demands on the 2.5 mm diameter. The Barr sleeve mixer had elongated cavities in the rotor which joined pairs of circular cavities in the ring during rotation. With holes in both rotors and rings.

R. ©1999. p. 1999. USA.R. SPE) Figure 10. Barr.A.A.A.R. SPE) 195 .157.A. M.9 Barr multi-ring mixer. Myers. Volume 1. Hughes in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. Spalding and K. New York.Floating Ring Mixing Devices Figure 10. Spalding and K. 1999. Hughes in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. Volume 1.157. USA. Myers.A. (Reproduced with permission from J. NY. R. p.A. ©1999. NY. (Reproduced with permission from J. M.8 Barr floating ring mixer. New York. Barr.

8. W. 2. 196 .J. Scheuber in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. At a typical commercial 1:25 let-down ratio. 1994. 0. 3. 1980 A.218. TN. TN. 120.D. Hughes in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. Rauwendaal. Gale in Proceedings of a Rapra Technology Ltd. C. Conference on Injection Moulding: Advanced Technology for Optimisation of Operational Performance. New York.A.US 4. Esseghir. 1998. Maurer and M. inventors. D. 1992. University Twente.. 1995. Paper No.M. Nashville. 7.5.340. University Twente. Gogos.183. R. 17. References 1. Volume 1. 5. 2003 p. assignee. 10. Y.A. David. Advances in Polymer Technology. Todd and B.3.J. Barr. Lin and M. 4. J. Dong-Woo. 29. p. 1974. Bevis. EP. NL 8801156. 2003 p.873B1. C. 1999. USA.146.B. J. Ingen-Housz and S. University Twente. M. DE 2162709C3. assignee. 9.G. Semmekrot. 10. 6. Nashville. USA. assignee. Myers. G. Norden. British Plastics and Rubber. Plastics and Rubber Processing and Applications.F. International Polymer Processing. C. no assignee. USA.A.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion The sleeve mixers were judged to perform well with minimal striations considering the amount of completely unmixed material entering the mixers. 1. Trials with a Maddock mixer showed mixing to be considerably less than for floating ring mixers. 12.J.A.4. 1. M. 1989. Ingen Housz. R. confirming the conclusions of Esseghir and co-workers [11] presented in Section 8. 26. April. R. 1.157. Scheuber in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. Shawbury. mixing for the three mixers was adequate for acceptable extruded sheet. S.R. 7. Rauwendaal. 1987. Spalding and K. Elbe inventor. 1992. M. inventor. 11. inventor.Y. Maurer and M. NY.526. Vereinigung zur Foerderung des Instituts für Kunststoffverarbeitung in Industrie und Handwerk an der Rhein-westfalen Technical Hochschule Aachen.

In plastics extrusion they have advantages of ease of installation with no requirement to be attached to. However. This includes melt cooling. 11. with no screw connection required they can be installed within any available space between extruder outlet and die inlet. The two main applications are improved cross-sectional distributive mixing of additives such as pigments and temperature homogenisation. in foam extrusion. 197 .11 Static (or Motionless) Mixers As the term implies. They can also be used for chemical reactions at very high flow rates. even at right angles to the axial line of the extruder barrel. 11. the requirement for extra space may place them with the same retrofit disadvantages as add-on dynamic mixers. the extruder screw. e. These mixers are not specific to plastics extrusion but are versatile chemical engineering devices used for pipeline fluid mixing over a wide viscosity range. These are formed by groups of elements which combine shear flow with dividing and recombining the polymer passing through..2 Static Mixers Used in plastics extrusion A number of different static mixers have been described together with the pressure losses which vary over a wide range between the highest and lowest [1]. vertically for a blown film extrusion line. unlike dynamic mixers described in previous chapters which turn with the screw. for example. As they need to be positioned between the extruder output flange and the die. Smith divided commercial static mixers into two categories of helical mixers and honeycomb packings [2]. or incorporated with. The polymer melt is passed through a tube containing a series of ducts.1 Mixing Mechanism Static mixers increase interfacial area by a combination of shearing and physical rearrangement.g. static mixers have no moving parts.

PRI) 198 . Smith in Proceedings of a PRI conference – Polymer Extrusion 2.20.2.M. ©1982. 1) Flow is divided into two or more equal channels at the start of each element 2) A twist in the element of 90º or more turns the fluid along a helical path as it passes through the element 3) The following element reverses the turning direction The flow twisting arrangement of the Ross ISG mixer is completely different in that it uses two sets of crossing tubular ducts within each element to provide the redistribution. Figure 11. Plastics and Rubber Institute.1 Helical Mixers Four commercial mixers with quite different vane arrangements were included by Smith [2] with a summary of the Kenics mixer (Figure 11. UK. ©1982.1] regarded as the best known of this type for plastics extrusion.1 Drawing of Kenics mixer (see Smith) [2].Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Helical Mixers: Those that divide the flow between two or three channels and produce the re-orientation as a result of imposing a rotation on flow. Paper No. 11. 1982.2 is a plastic version used with a two component dispenser for mixing epoxy resin and hardener. Honeycomb Mixers: Those that provide flow re-arrangement with a packing allowing multiple open channels of flow. but this mechanism has a relatively high pressure drop compared with other mixers [1]. (Reproduced with permission from J. The Ross ISG and Kenics mixers and their mixing mechanisms have been described in some detail by Tadmor and Gogos [3]. London. The example shown in Figure 11.

UK.These stacked layers form elements 1 to 1.5 D long and. (Reproduced with permission from J.M. Figures 4a and 5.Polymer Extrusion 2.2. meet typically at 90º.3).Static (or Motionless) Mixers Figure 11. 11.20. Smith in Proceedings of a PRI Conference . London. Plastics and Rubber Institute) 199 . Paper No.2 Honeycomb Mixers Several honeycomb mixers have been developed by Sulzer/Koch which use packings typically consisting of corrugated sheets stacked in layers at right angles to each other and at 45º to the tube axis (Figure 11. Relative pressure drops range from the same as for Kenics mixers (which is otherwise the lowest in the comparison) to about average [1]. ©1982. 1982.2 Photo of Kenics type static mixer.3 Drawing of Sulzer SMV honeycomb mixer. Figure 11. as with the helical mixers.

and the added residence time may contribute to thermal oxidation [1]. Fortunately. This proved suitable for the task (Figure 11. for example in foam extrusion. Removal of half the elements restored output rate to a more acceptable level. but even with the extruder contributing extra mixing due to the increased back pressure. A lop-sided production line blown film bubble proved to be the result of heavy handed re-assembly of a static mixer following a routine total machine clean-down. should this be necessary. approximately the resolution of the human eye. Following element folding. The division and re-orientation exposes polymer from the centre to the cooled outer surface. in many applications the required mixing is down to10-4 m. 5) Most static mixers need treating with care to avoid damage. 3) The extra added volume requires more purging when changing materials. static mixers are adaptable for melt cooling heat exchangers. 200 .Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 11. 4) Many of these mixers cannot be readily dismantled for cleaning. it was replaced by a single piece element machined from a solid steel blank. the extrusion failed to meet pipe standards (Figure 11.3 Application in Heat Exchangers With no moving parts to generate heat.4 Disadvantages There are a number of potential disadvantages in use.5). 6) Static mixers used for plastics extrusion are relatively expensive [1].4). 11. At the same time the design needs to be selected to minimise pressure drop as otherwise back pressure will cause more heat to be generated by the extruder screw. For example. this will impose a limit on the number of elements that can be used. in a laboratory trial using a static mixer to mix carbon black masterbatch into low-density polyethylene the head pressures were so high that output rate dropped by 50%. 2) The flow resistance of the mixer can impose excessive stresses on the mixer itself. when compared to add-on dynamic mixers: 1) As this method of mixing inevitably involves pressure losses. in an angled plate static mixer where the welded elements proved unable to withstand the loads applied in a melt cooling application.

201 . (Reproduced with permission from G.4 Photomicrograph of extrudate using Static Mixer (in MR or training course presentation/Powerpoint. Rapra Technology.M. Shawbury. Distibutive Mixing in Plastics Extrusion.5 Drawing of Mixer used for cooling in foam extrusion. 46.Static (or Motionless) Mixers Figure 11. Gale. 1980. Shrewsbury. UK. Rapra Technology Members Report No. ©1980 Rapra Technology) Figure 11. Figure 15.

UK. London.. John Wiley & Sons. USA. Chapter 4. Ed.M. 2. 1982.20. Marcel Dekker. C. Smith in Proceedings of a PRI Conference . 3. J. 202 . Principles of Polymer Processing. Gogos.G. USA. New York. Rauwendaal in Mixing in Polymer Processing. NY. 1991. Paper No. New York.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion References 1. Tadmor and C. C. Rauwendaal. 1979. NY. Z.Polymer Extrusion 2.

heating pipes Cables. (although liquid colours are essentially masterbatches of pigment concentrations in a liquid carrier).1. heating pipes Insulation.12 Liquid additive Liquid colour Tackifiers/oils Incorporation of Liquid Additives and Dispersions by Direct Addition Many plastics additives are either liquids or solids which will melt at plastics processing temperatures. wood substitutes Heat resistance and outdoor exposure White oil in polystyrene (PS) Cables Lubricants (silicones) Peroxides for crosslinking Silanes for crosslinking Chemical foaming agents Physical foaming agents Antioxidants UV absorbers Process aids Crosslinking co-agents In most cases the additives are available as masterbatches. packaging. Table 12. Optical fibre ducting Foams. Some examples are shown in Table 12. 203 . adhesives. but usually accompanied by additional technical and safety responsibilities for the converter. cables. which are widely injected into extruders making tacky silage and pallet wrap film. Of particular concern in the above list are peroxides. Direct addition can provide very significant economic and technical advantages. silanes and triallyl isocyanurate crosslinking agent but others can be hazardous if heated at higher than manufacturers’ recommended temperatures or for too long. There may be fire and/or toxicity hazards which need to be considered.1 Additives which can be incorporated as liquids into polymer melts Applications Identification and decoration Pallet and silage wrap. These include polybutenes.

but it is not at all difficult to inject a liquid into the downstream regions of an extruder and produce a fine spray of the liquid around an extruded strand as it emerges from the die. Fortunately there are ways of avoiding these problems.. Figure 12. polybutene tackifier is frequently incorporated into linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) during extrusion of pallet wrap and silage wrap films.1. during which the polymer absorbs the liquid.1 Viscosity Differences When mixing two viscous liquids their viscosities should ideally be the same [1]. Taking this additive as an example.2): 204 . 12. e. For economic reasons.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 12. white oil added to polystyrene. Mixing a small quantity of a low viscosity additive into a high viscosity polymer melt will be less difficult than mixing a small quantity of high viscosity additive into a low viscosity polymer.2 Incorporating Liquid Additives In principle a liquid additive can be added to polymers anywhere from the base of the hopper to an add-on mixer at the screw tip.1 Laminar shear flow with two liquid of different viscosities. There appears to be no rules for real situations [2]. The dry blend can then be processed by the extruder. batch premixing can be used. In a few cases such as plasticisers with polyvinylchloride (PVC) polymer powder and hydrocarbon oil with styrene/butadiene thermoplastic elastomer pellets. When two liquids of widely different viscosities flow through a channel the situation may be as shown in Figure 12. there are four points at which a liquid can be added (Figure 12.g. It is evident that the liquid can form a durable lubricating layer between the molten polymer and both barrel and die surfaces even when mixing elements are used.

4) a number of actions can be taken to prevent surface films forming: 1) Ensure the injector tip protrudes well into the melt. webs and so on. c) Down the centre of the screw to near the start of the metering zone (from B1 to B2). An injector with adjustable opening pressure is also possible. but higher than for feed opening addition.3). By injecting between the screw tip and add-on mixer. The poppet valve stops polymer backing up into the injection system (Figure 12. d) Highest incorporation levels are achievable by injecting into. 205 . A peristaltic pump is suitable for liquid colours. Pressures are quite low and gear pumps are used. 2) Have a number of axial troughs. around the section of screw/mixer opposite the injection probe. a screw tip mixing device (point C). For high levels of liquid injection (see Figure 12. or just before. but this is the most complex and expensive process. Screw conveying requirements limit addition rates to low levels b) Feed zone after the feed opening (point A). a poppet value injector can be used with a probe terminating well within the polymer melt. Injection on to the screw surface causes less interference with screw pumping and higher polybutene levels can be incorporated. or even into a first row cavity of a cavity transfer mixer. Figure 12. A low pressure pump can be used. These can be formed by extending the entry channels to a cavity transfer mixer or injection can be into one of the first row stator cavities. High pressure piston dosing pumps are used.Incorporation of Liquid Additives and Dispersions by Direct Addition a) Via the hopper into the feed throat.2 Polybutene injection points for silage and pallet wrap film extrusion. Liquid addition levels are quite low before barrel slippage occurs.

material wastage and changeover time will be reduced. a particularly important factor in wire insulation. 2) Avoidance of hopper flow and feed zone conveying irregularities due to very sticky or very slippery masterbatch pellets. ©1988.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 3) The liquid feed can be split between several injection ports spaced around the circumference.3 Poppet valve liquid injector. Figure 12. 3) Prevents premature heating effects such as peroxide crosslinking and gas escaping back through the hopper from a chemical foaming agent. 4) Technically innovative processes are possible. The late addition of additives can have a number of benefits: 1) When changing colour. due to the relatively high value of wasted copper wire. 4) A small extension probe can be fitted to the injector tip. Mackay. Rapra Technology) 206 . (Drawing by M.

Incorporation of Liquid Additives and Dispersions by Direct Addition Figure 12.4 Arrangement of poppet valve injectors to avoid slip layers. 207 .

The liquid carrier in this instance is a normal PVC plasticiser. 12. Injecting near the screw tip avoids any potential conveying problems at the feed zone. 3) Liquid colours can be used with direct dosing into the polymer melt at.1 Polybutene in Pallet-wrap and Silage-wrap Film Polybutene is incorporated into polyolefines (frequently octene LLDPE) for these products. which are pigments dispersed in a liquid carrier. No melting is required and hence mixing is at ambient temperature.2.3 Some Examples of Liquid Injection Processes 12. which in turn influences the type and cost of pump required. the screw tip to reduce changeover times. It has been claimed that this arrangement 208 . with preheating of the polybutene to 80 °C to reduce viscosity and hence reduce pressure losses through pipework and check valves etc. Direct injection is carried out using special pumping equipment from either bulk storage tanks or individual drums. 2) Comparatively simple low powered (high speed) easily cleaned mixing equipment enables a fast customer response for colour matching. or near. which ranges from 2% to 8. is that they can be prepared in a similar way to inks and paints. This is illustrated in Figure 12. An advantage of liquid colours.2 Injection of Liquid Colours (General) Liquid colours are fundamentally the same as solid colour masterbatches.5%. which may occur at high polybutene concentrations but requires expensive high pressure dosing piston pumps and flow rate monitoring as the polybutene is compressible. This process has been well established for some years and data on such properties as the influence of polybutene on ultimate bond and rate of generation of tack properties have been produced by a polybutene supplier [3]. The film may have up to three coextruded layers with polybutene in two of them.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 12. Both consist of a high concentration of pigment well dispersed in a compatible carrier. The main advantages of liquid colours are as follows: 1) The low viscosity liquid carrier facilitates rapid wetting of pigments to produce good dispersion. This is particularly useful for wire insulation whether used directly or as a precursor for flexible PVC compound preparation. The level of addition. depending on the application.3. A single pigment agglomerate could cause electrical insulation failure. has some influence on the injection point.3. There are four points at which the polybutene can be added. The fast response favours low inventories. The wetting of pigment by the liquid carrier minimises risks of agglomerate formation.

blending. for example. colour cost can be as little as 1. which at three times per day reduced purging waste by 90% [4]. and dosing equipment may well be available from the liquid colour supplier specifically for addition at the hopper (Figure 12.3. (Reproduced with permission from Colour Matrix.5 Arrangement for liquid colour pre-blended with polymer granules for fibre extrusion. ©2008.3 Wire Insulation Colouring An advantage of injecting liquid colour into a screw tip mixer for insulated wire extrusion is that time for colour change can be reduced typically at a 300 m/min production rate from 10-20 minutes to 3 minutes which results in a big financial 209 . for a translucent green pigmentation of a polyethylene terephthalate bottles.2% of overall material cost [5].Incorporation of Liquid Additives and Dispersions by Direct Addition reduced purge times from 30 to 2 minutes. Figure 12. Colour Matrix) 5) The system is overall cost effective. 4) Proprietary handling.5). 12.

Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion saving [4] (mainly from reduced wastage of copper wire). For single wire extrusion.6 Cable co-extrusion using a single screw extruder with externally by-passed mixer. 210 . Expensive pigment can be saved by confining the pigment to the surface of the insulation. This is achieved by passing the small proportion of melt (not bypassed) through a screw tip mixer where injected liquid colour is incorporated. Figure 12.6). un-pigmented melt can be diverted into the cable crosshead to form the bulk of the insulation with the remainder being coated on to the surface following incorporation of pigment. This is essentially a co-extrusion using one extruder (Figure 12.

©1986. p. Figure 12.W. 1986. Shrewsbury.7 [6]. 3) Effect of pigment agglomerates on insulation is virtually eliminated by having no pigments present in the main body of the insulation. (Reproduced with Permission from D. PVC wire insulation by mixing liquid colours into natural PVC just before the die has a number of advantages: 1) Liquid colour dispersions minimise the risk of pigment agglomerates being present. UK.23. The liquid colour injection equipment is shown in Figure 12.7 Colorant injection module. 2) Reduced costs from minimal quantity of expensive pigments being used. Rapra Technology) 211 . Shawbury. South in the Rapra Technology Ltd. Symposium on Making More of the Cavity Transfer Mixer.Incorporation of Liquid Additives and Dispersions by Direct Addition Skin colouring. 4) Reduced costs from quicker changeover from one colour to another.

8 4.5 6242Y is a flat twin PVC cable to BS 6004 [8] NYM is a PVC sheathed general energy cable Reproduced with permission from K.04 0.57:1 5. ©1988.81:1 4. Symposium .20 0.0169 4.500 34.45 37.254 0.5 5 core 1.495 35.8 Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 10.1653 0.00 54.0 10.84:1 5. UK.2 C Circular sheaths for NYM cables 1.1507 0.9 6.35:1 6.40:1 6.0320 0.41:0 4.61 106.111 0.0692 0.0 3 core 1.75 8.1625 0.4820:1 0.274:1 2615 6140 10.9 27.4 4.5 HO7V 1.0267 0.5 3 core 1.0279 5.07 24.67 60.39:1 6.4 6.8261 0.425 44. p.69 103.212 Outer diameter (mm) Masterbatch – 1% (kg/km) Weight of insulation/ length of wire (kg/km) Liquid colour (kg/km) Ratio of masterbatch to liquid colour Colour savings per 50.0 - 1..830 14.5409 1.60 16.4 6.39:1 5.700 85.6 13.0 3 core 1.7 1.0 5 core 1.06 0.2 Comparison of pigment used for full colouring to that used by liquid skin colour Size (wire cross section) (mm2) Wires Radial (mm) A Single core insulation PVC SG 1.0865 0.1376 0.7 6. Shrewsbury.7 × 17.0 B Flat twin and earth sheaths 6242Y 1.2 × 13.38 0.0 7/1.188 0.5 35.1 10.905 42. Shawbury.0374 0.10 Table 12.9.731 21.8 6.535 24.9 7. Rapra Technology . 1988.6069 1.5 - 0.Making More of the Cavity Transfer Mixer.200 2.0:1 6.316 0. Storton in the Proceedings of a Rapra Technology Ltd.8765 2.1088 0.35 1.9 × 8.0 - 1.000 km (kg) 6.377 0.92 15.P.5 1/1.0 7/1.65 202.09 87.25 9.71 82.

3. surface coloured insulation simultaneously is shown in Figure 12.8 Three die heads with three different colours using one extruder. The streams are then combined in the die heads by normal co-extrusion techniques to give unpigmented insulation with a co-extruded pigmented surface for three wires achieved with one extruder. An additional colouring unit could produce a coloured stripe. and yellow/green (earth). the flow rate for each individual stream being controlled by a gear pump. When combined with gear pumps. Full details of colour savings for different types and sizes of wires are shown in Table 12. A small proportion is bypassed via an individual mixer with liquid colour injection and mixing. 12. the dynamic 213 .Incorporation of Liquid Additives and Dispersions by Direct Addition Figure 12. whilst a second extruder plus colouring unit supplied the sheathing.2 [7].8 [7]. The output from the main extruder is divided into separate streams for each wire. A system for producing mains electricity wiring with brown (live). The main flow is then passed into the die head for un-pigmented insulation. blue (neutral).4 Fibre Extrusion Similar considerations regarding both dispersion and quick colour changes in wire extrusion also apply to fibre extrusion.

3.5 Skin Colouring Pipes and Profiles The co-extrusion techniques described previously.3. For in-line extrusions. The result is that an in-line co-extrusion such as a pipe can be produced with only one extruder.11(a) and Figure 12. colour can be confined to the product surface by having a central bypass through the centre of a mixer and injecting the liquid colour after a blister which restricts flow into the mixing area (Figure 12. Figure 12.9 Co-extruded skin using mixer with central by-pass.2). for insulated wire can also be used for pipes and profiles. 214 .11(b).10 shows a sample of 40 mm outside diameter (OD) skin coloured acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) pipe and the by-passed 38 mm rotor of the cavity transfer mixer (CTM) used for its extrusion. A typical bypassed mixer used for applying an expensive weathering protection additive in a pipe surface skin is shown in Figure 12.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion mixers of the interacting cavity type will provide flexibility and efficiency required by demanding applications [9. Interchangeable rings can be used for the blister to give control of final thickness. By re-uniting the streams at the mixer exit. but the late incorporation of liquid additives also provides opportunities for novel techniques which are comparatively simple.9). a co-extrusion can be produced with additive confined to the skin. Figure 12. 12. 10] (See also Section 9.

outlet pipe and liquid injector passing through stator flange.10 CTM (38 mm) with central bypass and 40 mm ABS pipe with coloured skin. © Rapra Technology) 215 .Incorporation of Liquid Additives and Dispersions by Direct Addition Figure 12. (a) Shows entry slots before flow resisting blister. (Photograph bt G. (Photographs bt G. Lawley. © Rapra Technology) (a) (b) Figure 12. (b) View showing central bypass outlet. Lawley.11 Production mixer with central bypass.

This applies to both continuous use under pressure at up to 100 °C for hot water pipes and occasional excursions to significantly higher temperatures supported by the conducting wire due to temporary electrical overload of a cable. there is an opportunity to apply an unlimited range of surface colours by adjusting the output settings of individual pumps (Figure 12. They are also competitively priced. (ideally mounted directly to the three non-return valve injectors). In a short demonstration trial it was shown possible to work through the spectrum from red to violet and also produce brown. By having three pneumatically operated piston injection pumps. 216 . 12.12).Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 12.12 Three pumps spectrum system.6 Crosslinking Polyethylenes Polyethylenes (PE) have been used for cables and pipes for cold water services for many years.3. However their applications are limited by a comparatively low upper service temperature limit. They are comparatively easy to extrude with good thermal stability at about 150-180 °C for low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and LLDPE and about 175-200 °C for high-density polyethylene (HDPE).

application of cable technology to pipes needs changes to satisfy the different service conditions. Failure to keep the polymer below this critical temperature will result in crosslinking within the extruder. 3) Increased abrasion resistance. By injecting a liquid peroxide into the polymer melt between two Maddock elements at the screw tip or at the start of a suitable add-on mixer.1 Peroxide Crosslinking Peroxides dissociate into free radicals at a temperature specific to the selected peroxide. but the polymer must at all times be kept below the peroxide dissociation temperature. 12. Note: that excessive screw cooling can freeze polymer on to the screw. Other advantages of crosslinking polyethylenes include the following [11]: 1) Reduced deformation under load. 217 . The addon mixer described in [4] was preferred to a double Maddock arrangement which required eight injection ports spaced equally around the circumference. With the peroxide mixed into polyethylene a free radical reaction takes place which results in crosslinks between the molecular chains resulting in a network of molecules which increase the heat distortion temperature of the polymer.6. effectively reducing the screw channel working depth which increases melt temperature instead of cooling it. One might add: 6) Enhancing foaming and foam properties. the peroxide must be well mixed into the polyethylene in the extruder during normal extrusion. The peroxide is normally pre-compounded into the polymer or added as masterbatch. producing at best a lumpy extrusion and in an extreme case blockage of the equipment. higher temperatures can be safely used early in the extrusion process to accelerate polymer melting. To achieve a crosslinked cable or pipe. The application of screw cooling can help to limit melt temperatures as well as improve mixing [12-14]. 4) Memory characteristics (for shrink sleeving).3. Although the same techniques are used for water pipes as for the longer established crosslinked cables.Incorporation of Liquid Additives and Dispersions by Direct Addition However. 5) Improved impact properties. 2) Improved chemical resistance. their safe working temperature can be raised to meet the demands of both products by crosslinking the polyethylene after the extrusion process has been completed.

which was well below the softening point of the HDPE used and the resulting crosslinked pipes withstood 1000 hours in water at 95 °C with a wall stress of 4. 218 .2 Silane Grafting The basic chemistry of this process is that a silane such as tri-methoxy vinyl silane is grafted on to polyethylene and following extrusion the insulated wire or pipe is exposed to hot water or steam.13) [11]. The water pipes were steam autoclaved for four hours at 110 °C. Tri-methoxy vinyl silane is both very flammable and toxic. In the original Midland Silicones/Dow Corning process the grafting reaction is carried out in a compounding process and supplied packed in foil lined bags to prevent premature reaction with atmospheric moisture. 12.4 N/mm2 [11].6. The tin catalyst is supplied as a masterbatch. peroxide and tin catalyst into an add-on mixer to make cable [4] and hot water pipe [16]. The silane groups react with the water to form cross links with the elimination of methanol (Figure 12. whilst there are no problems of crosslinking in the extruder. The injection system has been described as the same as that used for liquid colouring [4] but obviously there are safety issues associated with liquid peroxides which need to be considered before using this process. A tin catalyst such as dibutyl tin dilaurate speeds up the crosslinking reaction. in which all the additives were mixed with the polymer and grafting performed in the cable extruder. Direct injection has been used to inject a liquid mixture of silane. A one step process was developed by BICC with Maillefer for power cables which eliminated the compounding stage (the Monosil process) [15]. although the compound must be extruded immediately after bags are opened. Crosslinking in hot water or steam enables pipes to be crosslinked below the polyethylene softening temperature. As with peroxides there are health and safety issues. Pipe initially at its melting point and with no wire support will need special supporting facilities (which are normally proprietary) for post extrusion crosslinking.3.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Following the extrusion process. insulated wire and cable can be heated to dissociate the peroxide into free radicals and crosslink the polyethylene.

13 Silane grafting and crosslinking reactions.Incorporation of Liquid Additives and Dispersions by Direct Addition Figure 12. 219 .

8 Extrusion Foaming Extruded foams usually fall into one of the two categories of high density and low density. Low density foams.3. These two categories also subdivide the manufacturing processes. ammonia (exothermic type).3. e. type of blowing agent and obviously the product markets. The purpose of the silicone is to provide a very low coefficient of friction. Physical blowing agents are usually either hydrocarbons such as pentane or hydrofluorocarbons (HFC). generally use conventional extrusion lines and chemical blowing agents specially formulated to liberate the necessary gas. By direct injection into a CTM added to the extruder. whilst silicone masterbatch would be expensive and may also give dimensional problems. which are typically wood substitute products. The most commonly used chemical blowing agents (CBA) liberate either carbon dioxide (endothermic type) or nitrogen plus miscellaneous gases. The high density foams.7 Silicone Lubricant Injection An example of liquid injection which gives both technical advantages and economic savings is a special application in which a silicone lubricant is incorporated at a level of 2% during the extrusion of small bore HDPE tubing.g.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 12. which are typically packaging and insulating products. 12. Hydrocarbon blowing agents are of comparatively low cost. The tube is extruded to high tolerances with continuous laser monitoring. but flame-proof plants are required and liberation of hydrocarbons into the atmosphere is generally unacceptable. are foamed on special extrusion equipment using direct injection of a physical blowing agent which does not undergo any decomposition reaction. A widely used example is azodicarbonamide. 220 .. The addition of liquid silicone at the hopper would make it difficult to keep within tolerances. The former have densities typically of about half the original polymer density whilst the latter can be as low as 20-30 kg/m3. the required level of silicone is incorporated into the HDPE with no dimensional tolerance compromises and economic savings are made by purchasing the silicone in 25 kg drums instead of using a masterbatch.

Incorporation of Liquid Additives and Dispersions by Direct Addition Extrusion Foaming Mechanisms The formation of a foamed thermoplastic has been described in articles by Throne [17] and by Han and co-workers [18]. The foam extrusion process can be summarised as: 1) Gas is introduced to the melt either via a CBA added to the feed pellets as powder or masterbatch or by injection of a physical foaming agent. The melt pressure developed by the extruder screw against the die restriction enables a solution of the gas in the molten polymer to be achieved. 2) As the die pressure reduces at or near the die exit, the solution becomes supersaturated and bubbles become nucleated at points of irregularity such as CBA solid residues, pigments, contaminants and deliberately added nucleating agents such as talc. 3) With further melt pressure reductions and transfer from die to atmosphere, the bubbles expand and the remaining gas comes out of solution to further expand the bubbles, forming a cellular extrusion. A number of factors will influence this mechanism: 1) As pressure is higher in small bubbles than larger ones, the larger bubbles will grow at the expense of the smaller ones. As a result it is desirable to nucleate as many bubbles as possible when using physical foaming agents. This can be achieved with foaming agents by adding an optimum concentration of sodium bicarbonate/citric acid mixture, talc and other fillers, silica and so on. CBA are self nucleating. 2) The degree of expansion depends on the amount of gas dissolved in the polymer. This will depend on the solubility of the gas and the melt pressure as described in more detail next. 3) The expansion of bubbles without foam collapse will depend on the melt strength. Thus amorphous polymers such as polystyrene have a comparatively wide processing range of satisfactory foaming temperatures, whilst semi-crystalline polymers such as polypropylene (PP) will have a very narrow range between solid and low viscosity fluid [19]. In the case of PP, special branched (viscous) grades are available. 4) Low density foams will be harder to achieve with gases which have a faster diffusion rate. 5) With dies designed to produce very rapid decompression at their outlets (e.g., by using wide entry angles and very short lands), transfer of dissolved gas from melt to expanding bubbles (as melt pressure rapidly drops) causes a corresponding 221

Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion rapid increase in polymer viscosity. This prevents bursting of the rapidly expanding bubbles thereby resulting in a lower foam density and also contributes to a more stable foaming process. Conditions Required to Extrude Low Density Foams These can normally be achieved by taking advantage of plasticisation of the melt by the dissolved gas and adiabatic cooling by the gas expansion. Plasticisation enables the melt to be processed at a lower temperature, e.g., about 100 °C for polyethylene and polystyrene. As a result gas transfer from melt to bubbles during expansion causes the viscosity to rise rapidly. This is also assisted by adiabatic cooling of the melt by the expanding gas. Melt cooling to these extrusion temperatures can be achieved using either static heat exchangers or dynamically using a second (tandem) extruder with a deep screw running at a slow speed. Many CBA require high temperatures for decomposition and hence comparatively high melt temperatures are necessary at some stage.

Figure 12.14 Extruder arrangements for producing foam. 222

Incorporation of Liquid Additives and Dispersions by Direct Addition Figure 12.14 shows the individual extrusion stages: 1) The first stage is conveying and melting as for solid extrusions except that mixing must be adequate to achieve uniform distribution of the nucleating agent. 2) At the following mixing stage the foaming agent is injected under pressure into the molten polymer and well mixed into the polymer. The dissolved gas reduces the melt viscosity, i.e., acts as a plasticiser. 3) Cooling is applied at the third stage to restore the viscosity to its former or even a higher level to prevent cell wall rupture during subsequent bubble expansion as it leaves the die. Temperatures as low as 100 °C or even lower might be used for PS and LDPE. 4) The sudden pressure drop to ambient as the cooled melt leaves the die causes dissolution of the gas to form bubbles which very rapidly expand. It is evident that mixing is very important, not only to achieve a uniform distribution of nucleator and foaming agent, but also to achieve uniform melt temperature. With mixing producing heat, uniform melt cooling is not easily achieved. Extrusion of Low Density Foams For low density packaging and insulation foam products, complete extrusion lines are available from several specialist plastics machinery manufacturers which may use one long single screw or twin screw extruder or two single screw extruders in tandem. (Figure 12.14). In the tandem process, the second extruder is designed specifically to combine extruder and heat exchanger functions. Due to the low thermal conductivity of polymers, the challenge is to expose all material to cooling surfaces without generating shear heat. As cooling increases viscosity, falling temperatures result in increasing generation of shear heating, which will stabilise temperatures at an equilibrium value. Extrusion Foaming Using Chemical Blowing Agents For the high density end of the foam density spectrum, normal solid plastics extrusion machines can be used with chemical blowing agents either as a masterbatch or as a powder dusting on to the feed pellets. The output rate may be limited by the need to combine good melting and mixing whilst running the extruder at temperatures below which premature decomposition of the blowing agent and gas escape via the hopper 223

Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion occurs. One solution, which is not generally used, is to inject a liquid dispersion of blowing agent into a screw tip mixer, similar to the technique described for liquid colour in Section 12.3.2. The blowing agent and colour can be combined in the same carrier. This may minimise the variables in gas evolution associated with heating rate: a problem identified in [20]. The author found this technique worked well with a film blowing laboratory extruder and it also avoided gas escape via the hopper. Although carbon dioxide liberated from chemical blowing agents costs about 10 times that purchased in cylinders, the former offers advantages of simplicity of addition of powder or masterbatch pellets at the hopper. Overall, for ‘wood-like’ and similar extrusions, conventional single screw extruders can be used, as for solid extrusions. Carbon Dioxide as a Foaming Agent There has been considerable research into the use of inert gases as replacement foaming agents for chlorofluorocarbons (CFC). This followed the range of legislation which followed the Montreal Protocol to eliminate the use of these chemicals which were believed to be damaging the ozone layer in the world’s upper atmosphere. hydrochlorofluorocarbons which were considered to be 90% less harmful than CFC were introduced as an interim measure, but these in turn were phased out in favour of HFC in 2001 [21]. The apparent overall advantages of nitrogen and carbon dioxide raises the question of why not use these gases directly as a replacement for both physical and chemical blowing agents? Nitrogen is by far the most environmentally acceptable contender as it is simply borrowed from the atmosphere. However, although carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, for foaming processes it is a by-product of ammonia manufacture, fermentation etc. Solubility in polymers is a critical property in achieving low densities. As this solubility is defined by Henry’s Law, i.e., the amount which will dissolve is proportional to the applied pressure, comparisons can be made using Henry’s Law constants. Comparisons shown in Table 12.3 show that three inert gas alternatives have significantly lower solubilities in PE, PP and PS than a CFC which can no longer be used. Carbon dioxide also has an advantage in that mixing into a polymer is aided by it being a critical fluid at normal extrusion temperatures and pressures such that it behaves like both a fluid and a gas, i.e., mixing is aided by diffusion. Table 12.4 summarises results of extrusion trials using injection of these inert gases into a cavity transfer mixer fitted to an extrusion line normally used for producing LDPE pipe insulation. Although a twin screw extruder was used the CTM rotor was fitted to only one of the screws, and followed by a static haet exchanger melt cooler and static mixer blender. A similar arrangement using a single screw extruder has been used on a laboratory scale with a 50 mm extruder [22]. 224

Incorporation of Liquid Additives and Dispersions by Direct Addition

Table 12.3 Comparisons of Henry’s Law constants (solubilities) for carbon dioxide, nitrogen and argon
Henry’s Law Constant at 188 °C cm3/g atm (STP) Polyethylene Nitrogen Argon Carbon dioxide 0.111 0.133 0.435 Polypropylene 0.133 0.176 0.499 Polystyrene 0.049 0.093 0.388

STP: Standard temperature and pressure

Table 12.4 Comparison of lowest achieved densities with theoretical densities
Gas Nitrogen Argon Carbon dioxide Die Pressure (MPa) 7.2 7.0 7.4 Die Gas dissolved temperature (cm3/g at STP) (°C) 118.71 120 110 3.628 6.5 16.28 Theoretical density (kg/m3) 109 96 46.7 Actual density (kg/m3) 200 200 53

The extrusion processes used are fundamentally the same as those used for physical foaming agents. The densities achieved were quite low, but the lower density of the pipe insulation in production foamed with a hydrocarbon could not be achieved. A further disadvantage was that unsightly surface wrinkling appeared during the first hour after extrusion, although it had only marginal effect on foam density. This was a consequence of the carbon dioxide diffusing out of the foam faster than air/nitrogen could diffuse in at this comparatively low density. Advantages of using carbon dioxide are: 1) 2) 3) 4) Environmentally acceptable. Reasonable solubility. Can be used for a wide range of processing temperatures. Plasticising effect reduces melt viscosity. 225

FL.0 6.5 Foaming conditions. 2000.1 6.5 shows results for several engineering plastics ranging from polypropylene to polyether-ethersulfone [23]. 11) No gas escape via the hopper. 10) With no limitation of specific decomposition temperature. Orlando. USA. SPE 226 . ©2000.34 24. Table 12. Can be pumped as a liquid.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 5) 6) 7) 8) 9) Lower processing temperature increases solubility. Table 12. Gale in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. (as with readily available chemical blowing agents).M.65 HTPC: High temperature polycarbonate PEEK: Polyether ether ketone PPO: Polyphenylene oxide PPS: Polyphenylene sulfide SMA: Styrene-maleic anhydride Reproduced with permission from G.1945. Behaves as a critical fluid under typical extrusion conditions (diffusion makes mixing easier).76 4. p.52 31. foam density and polymer density Material PEEK PPS SMA HTPC Modified PPO Branched PP Linear PP Polymer density (kg/m3) 1300 1300 1140 1200 1100 900 900 Foam density (kg/m3) 350 690 123 374 208 150 360 Extruder barrel temperature (°C) 390 340 190 340 280 190 190 Heat exchanger/die temperature (°C) 280/320 295/275 140/130 250/250 200/200 105/140 120 (CTM) Die type Strip Strip Rod Strip Rod Strip Strip Die Pressure (MPa) 5.55 1. carbon dioxide can be used for foaming at a range of temperatures covering many polymers. Conventional extruders easily adapted. Low cost (but pumping equipment needed and expertise to operate it).

Symposium Making More of the Cavity Transfer Mixer.M. Conference Addcon ‘99. 4) It is generally unsuitable for foamed packaging trays. South in the Rapra Technology Ltd. Shropshire. References 1. . Paper 8. Shrewsbury. 1986. Symposium Making the most of the Cavity Transfer Mixer. Gogos. p. Principles of Polymer Processing. USA. UK. K.and fluorocarbons) restricts its use to high. 4.. p.23.9. thermal insulation etc. Shawbury. Shawbury. 3) Its limited solubility (compared with hydro. UK. Electric Cables . Overend. J. 7.H. 1999. 8.G. which usually have very low densities. 2006. ColorMatrix (private communication) D. Prague. Mattila in the Proceedinsg of a Rapra Technology Ltd. Shrewsbury. John Wiley & Sons. 1979. 1986. 1988. 3. 1962. 6. NY. McKelvey. Lighting and Internal Wiring. 227 5. BS 6004. Non-Armoured Cables for Voltages up to and Including 450/750 V. 5) A small chiller with trace cooling is necessary to keep carbon dioxide as a liquid in the pump and immediate pipework.. A. Shrewsbury. John Wiley.Incorporation of Liquid Additives and Dispersions by Direct Addition Disadvantages of using carbon dioxide are: 1) It must be injected under high pressure. Paper No. 2. Tadmor and C. 2) Liquid carbon dioxide is compressible which can make accurate dosing variable such that stable operating conditions may be difficult to achieve if dosing equipment does not allow for this. UK. A. J.. Czechoslovakia. Polymer Processing. London.P. Storton in the Proceedings of a Rapra Technology Ltd. Symposium on Making More of the Cavity Transfer Mixer.8.PVC Insulated.W. Z. New York. for Electric Power. Gardner in Proceedings of a Rapra Technology Ltd. Shawbury. medium and medium-low density foams.

8. G. 6. 23. Advances in Polymer Technology. 23.. Malhotra. 111. US 4. Maillefer. Green and C. A. G. 2000. 13. B. Dallas. 1984.M. 2007. P. Benkreira. H.J. Paper No.27. July. International Polymer Processing. Orlando. Paragreen.Blowing Agent Systems: Formulation and Processing.D. Han. Paper No. Sims and C. 17. 19. G. Gale in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. R. Applied Organometallic Chemistry. 19. p. 2004.M. Throne in Proceedings of the MIT International Conference on Polymer Processing. Hensen. 32. 1951. J.H. Maddock. 2001. Gale. 1. 20. 1998. 2. Seminar . E. 6. assignees. 228 .117. 14. Steward in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC 2001. Walker. Gale. inventors. UK. 21. Urethanes Technology. Gale in Proceedings of the PRI International Conference Polymer Extrusion 3. F.D. and W. F.M. 12.G. FL. Dickmeiss. British Plastics. SPE Journal. Cambridge. 2. Kim and K.W. 24. Paper No. 2. 339.195. Swarbrick. 21. Grant. 1978. USA.77. TX. Jeffs. M. Cox and J. Patel. 17. London. O’Connor in Proceedings of a Rapra Technology. J. Shrewsbury. UK.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 9. C. 2004.L. 4. 341. 3. M. Journal of Cellular Plastics. 1988. 22. W. Shawbury. Burt. Ltd. 15. BICC Ltd and Establissements Maillefer SA. Journal of Applied Polymer Science. p. Y.1945. 20. 1977. D.L. 1967.A. 14. 1985. USA. MA. 16. 18. 20. 11.62. USA.2. 10. Extrusion. 1976. Sorio and G. 308. M. 1583.

particularly for extrusions requiring high stiffness.. the masterbatch route is normally technically the best and most reliable.5% pigment or antiblock to 40 or 50 wt% filler or flame retardant. as pointed out by Smith [25]. in compounding particulate blends of polymers with these additives during product extrusion. not pigments): 1) (There is) ‘. 2) (It is) ‘. 229 . the economics of the direct route look attractive. may be required at up to 50 wt% to meet specific fire retarding performances. For pigments. it appears that some of Smith’s statements (and Wiese’s comprimates) apply in this particular case (although these agglomerates were filler. either economic or technical (or both). as will happen during single screw processing.. largely true that once formed. Certain organic pigments will form exceptionally large agglomerates (termed comprimates by Wiese [1]) when they are compressed.. Unfortunately. From the photograph in Chapter 1. abundant evidence to show that agglomerates are normally produced under circumstances largely overlooked and unsuspected’. and other additives required at low concentrations. Practical trials showed that these comprimates needed a high level of energy for dispersion not available during normal processing conditions.. It is also the best for minimising cleaning and facilitating automatic and accurate dosing.1 Formation of Agglomerates Extruded products frequently contain additives in the form of powders ranging in concentration from less than 0. the compounding of solid additives into plastics involves situations that are the opposite of those ideally required for good dispersion (see Chapter 2). antiblocking additives. an agglomerate stands a reasonable chance of never meeting conditions which break it down. There are attractions. water-liberating flame retardants such as alumina trihydrate whose water of crystallisation is liberated at about 170 °C. the production of good quality dispersions is made difficult or impossible’.13 Dispersive Mixing of Fillers and Pigments 13. With moves to reduce use of halogens. For high levels of filler.

24:1 single screw extruder following rapid cooling and screw jacking [6].1 Polypropylene pellets coated in filler. 230 . the overall problem in dispersive mixing. Figure 13. 13. Butyl stearate (0.2 Formation of filler agglomerates in a single screw extruder The problems of extruding polymer pellet/filler powder blends in single screw extruders were investigated by examining samples of materials removed from the screw channel of a 38 mm diameter. Figure 13. As discussed in Chapter 2.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 3) ‘Problems of agglomeration can be overcome simply by avoiding their formation’. The second trial used a screw with a Maillefer type barrier section replacing the conventional compression zone. is that compounding of solid additives into plastics involves ‘situations that are the opposite of those ideally required’. Mixer discharge temperature was 110 °C.1 wt%) was included to minimise filler separation during extruder feeding.1 shows PP granules coated with filler. and metering zones. whatever machinery is used. feed. Blends of 40 wt% stearate coated calcium carbonate filler with polypropylene (PP) pellets were prepared in a 24 litre high speed mixer run at half speed of 1200 rpm under vacuum to prevent fluidisation and also remove any moisture present. The first trial used a conventional 3:1 depth ratio screw with equal length. compression.

in some places. the lightly bonded granules forming a stratum across the middle have separated showing little adhesion between pellets. did not occur.. forming at the rear of the screw channel and steadily growing in width until the channel was full. 2) It appeared that during passage through the compression zone the usual melting behaviour of a rolling melt pool. resulted in polymer granules deforming under the effects of heat and pressure without coalescing. During removal. The solid material appeared to be a sintered mass of polymer and filler with a polished surface skin which. Some of them were very large. and agglomerates have formed between pellets. firstly against the barrel surface. the following observations were made (Figure 13.2 shows a sample removed from the conventional screw channel at an early compression zone stage. Wiese’s comprimates. i. had patches of filler on it. Figure 13. The lower surface. the separation of polymer granules from one another by a coating of filler. From examination of all the screw channel samples. a solid’s mass had formed. had large patches of segregated filler as a surface coating. which had been in contact with the screw.e.3): 1) In the early stages of compaction.2 Sample removed from extruder screw channel. This appeared to transfer high compression forces to the powder filling the pellet interstices so that strong filler agglomerates were formed.Dispersive Mixing of Fillers and Pigments Figure 13. and then spreading inwards to the full channel depth within several screw turns. 231 . Instead. where melting should have started. The surfaces of the exposed pellets of the cross-section are coated with filler.

Figure 13. so that the pockets of filler must have been subjected to high compression. 4) The sintered mass continued through most of the compression zone in this compacted form. 6) The agglomerates were entrained within the melt through the die into the extrudate. 5) At some point. which could not be clearly identified. the polymer in the sintered mass received sufficient conductive heat to become fully molten and normal crosssection circulating flow occurred. 232 .Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 3) Coatings of filler between polymer and metal surfaces prevented the melting polymer from wetting the barrel and screw surfaces.3 Formation of agglomerates.

233 .Dispersive Mixing of Fillers and Pigments Figure 13. Agglomerates already formed were also passing through the gap into the melt channel. or cavity transfer mixer would not disperse the agglomerates.5).4 Sample removed from barrier screw (Maillefer type). The fitting of a Maddock mixer. The overall effect was that thermally softened filler coated PP pellets had deformed into platelets during passage over the barrier flight with coalescence still being prevented by the filler coating (Figure 13.4 is a view of the channel cross-sections and screw contacting surface for the Maillefer type barrier screw. Figure 13.5 Agglomerates passing over screw barrier flight. planetary gear mixer. Figure 13. Note that the central strip formerly occupying the gap between the barrier flight and barrel surface has small patches of compressed filler and agglomerates passing over the barrier flight.

this method of conveying has the potential for moving pellets not only without compaction.3 Starved Feeding to Avoid Agglomerate Formation The investigation discussed in Section 13. Figure 13. i.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 13.1 confirmed Smith’s advice that the best way to avoid the presence of agglomerates is to avoid their formation in the first place. This has led to several investigations into the use of starved feeding.6).. This should uniformly raise the polymer/additive temperature as it is forwarded throughout the hot barrel towards the die (Figure 13.6 Solids conveying mechanism.e. The requirement is therefore to forward polymer granules and additive powder with minimal compaction forces. but including a tumbling movement within each screw compartment [7]. controlling the rate of addition in the extruder feed zone such that the screw channel is less than full. For polymer/additive blends. which is necessary to achieve sufficient drag forces from barrel surface friction for plug flow conveying. The reasoning for this approach is that forwarding will rely on gravity conveying instead of particulate compaction.7). Transport of heavy materials such as sand and gravel is very easily achieved using this method (Figure 13. 234 .

When the feed rate was reduced to 50% of normal delivery rate. This influence of starved feeding on melting and mixing was just one of many situations included in trials with colour pellet mixtures by Maddock in 1959 to investigate overall melting and mixing mechanisms [8]. In fact this idea was not completely original. i.Dispersive Mixing of Fillers and Pigments Figure 13.e. under the influence of die back pressure. the screw speed was then doubled.7 Tumbling of powder/pellets in partly filled screw. but a recognition that this starved feeding behaviour illustrated by Maddock [8] in screw jacking experiments could be suitable for the avoidance of agglomerates generated by normal full channel extrusion. 235 . This reduced the length of filled channel still further. mixing is directly related to shear rate multiplied by residence time. Finally. Further trials demonstrated that restricting output rate with a valve or die could be used to control onset of melting.. polymer will become fully melted during passage though the last few turns of the screw. The mixing improvement was attributed to the increase in total shear. but improved mixing more than before.5 turns from the discharge end. With the reduced feed rate unchanged. with improved mixing resulting from increased residence time in the metering zone. the length of filled channel was reduced to 4.

236 . The extruders were of a similar size.1. as shown by McKelvey (and experienced by the author). The materials used and the additive levels to be dispersed were quite different. the main interest was potential improvements in process economics. but the one used for the HDPE/filler trials was longer to accommodate a vent zone and had an alternative conventional screw. Both Thompson and co-workers [10] and Elemans and van Wunnik [11] carried out starved feeding trials using barrier screw extruders with the objective of achieving good dispersion of additive powders. Thompson and co-workers used 20 wt% calcium carbonate filler with high-denisty polyethylene (HDPE) pellets and black marker pellets. the essential details are compared in Table 13. As the two investigations used screws of similar diameters and together covered a range of screw features. then controlled melting using a barrier screw might eliminate this problem. down channel flow will resume until more un-melted material arrives to repeat the cycle. McKelvey [9] speculated that the extra degree of freedom provided by decoupling extrusion rate from screw speed might lead to unrecognised advantages. was McKelvey’s observations on surging occurring as a consequence of starved feeding. It should replace potentially variable friction dependent solids feeding and full screw conveying with a controlled feeding device and ‘gravity conveying’ in the screw. they covered the typical commercial extremes of a high level of filler in a commodity polyolefine (Thompson and co-workers). Of particular relevance to more recent work using starved feeding for avoiding agglomerate formation. One might expect starved feeding would eliminate risks of variable output rate (or ‘surging’). The PBT/pigment trials used a screw with a mixing element following the barrier section. Unfortunately. However. Between them. and a low level of pigment in an engineering polymer (Elemans and van Wunnik). Elemans and van Wunnick used a dry coloured blend of polybutylterephthalate (PBT) with 2% ultramarine blue pigment premixed by tumble blending.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion In 1978. starved feeding can result in surging. It was shown that higher overall output rates and energy savings should be possible (particularly for large extruders with very viscous styrene-acrylonitrile). Once the delaying material has become fully melted. His trials with a 203 mm extruder confirmed that with starved feeding the screw channel was part filled for most of its length. A potential cause is down channel progress of polymer being slowed (or stopped) by failure of polymer melting to keep pace with reducing channel depth in a conventional screw. Varying output rates even with an accurate dosing system is a potential problem with starved feeding of single screw extruders. with full width being reached after completion of melting. If starved feeing is producing this effect.

With the conventional screw.5 63.7 11. with little difference between general purpose and barrier screw. accompanied by a re-appearance of agglomerates.4 31D 31D 28D Yes No Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes With the HDPE/filler feed. Further screw speed increases gave no further improvement.2 After barrier depth (mm) 3.7 12. the agglomerate size reducing with increase in starvation. increasing under-feeding from 70% to 45% further improved dispersion.3 – 3. Overall. These results (Figure 13. a consequence of 15% starvation at a higher screw speed was surging.9) can be correlated with pressure measurements from points between 12D and the die entry (Figure 13. Christiano and co-workers reported mixing was better under starved conditions with both barrier and conventional screws. a particular feature for the starved feed condition was the significant reduction in melting zone pressure which coexisted with reduced agglomeration. 237 . reduced compaction forces during melting.8).5 60 Barrier Vent Mixer Feed zone depth (mm) 12. In Elemans and Van Wunnick’s trials with PBT/2% ultramarine blue. although compared with the high filler content situation.1 Summary of screw details used in starved feed zone extrusion trials by Thompson.10).Dispersive Mixing of Fillers and Pigments Table 13. Donoian and Christiano [10] and by Elemans and Van Wunnik [11] L/D HDPE/filler barrier screw HDPE/filler conventional screw PBT/pigment barrier screw Diameter (mm) 63. extrudates and injection moulded plaques showed significantly fewer agglomerates when screw speed was increased from a flood fed 40 rpm condition to a starved 60 rpm at the same feed rate of 40 kg/h (Figure 13. This could have been the result of pellet preheating causing softening prior to compaction which as a result. The most significant improvements were achieved using up to 10% starvation. Starved feeding by reducing the feed rate (as for the HDPE/filler) showed the same improvements.

1099. 2001.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 13. Polymer Engineering and Science.H. ©2001 Wiley) 238 .8 Extrusions comparing flood-feed with starved feed by increasing screw speed at constant throughput rate.10 Graph showing lower pressure resulting from increasing starvation at constant speed. Polymer Engineering and Science. 7. Van Wunnik. Elemans and J. (Reproduced with permission from P. Elemans and J.M.M. ©2001. Van Wunnik.M.H. 1099. 1099. 2001. Van Wunnik.9 Photomicrograph showing reduced agglomerates as feed rate reduced at constant screw speed. 2001. Wiley) Figure 13.M. (Reproduced with permission from P. (Reproduced with permission from P. 41. 7. 41.M.M. ©2001. 41. Wiley) Figure 13. Elemans and J.H. 7. Polymer Engineering and Science.

a flood fed 20 mm extruder with four pins of 3 mm diameter mounted radially at 90° to each other and at 2 D intervals. Good dispersion was achieved with PP powder with 20 wt% chalk filler blends. passed through slots in the screw flights [6].5 Dispersive Mixing Using Polymeric Waxes A technique enabling single screw extruders to achieve good dispersion of pigments in colour masterbatches has been describe in the past by polymer wax manufacturers. 239 .M. in the production of colour masterbatches. If reactor powder is used. 7. the costs will probably be uneconomic. Soon afterwards. Elemans and J. the reactor producing the PP powder was closed down. 13.4 Dispersive Mixing Using Polymer Powders The best dispersions of ultramarine blue in PBT achieved by Elemans and van Wunnick. ©2001. Wiley) If the polymer is not available as reactor powder and needs pellet grinding. 41. In this case. (Reproduced with permission from P. whereas dispersions were poor when PP granules were used. were achieved by using PBT in powder form. This gave a considerable improvement over the use of granules and with starved feeding. Polymer Engineering and Science.Dispersive Mixing of Fillers and Pigments 13. Figure 13. 2001. The polymer powder gave a 100 fold increase in surface area compared with pellets over which the pigment can be distributed. However.11). Van Wunnik. and at the time there was no alternative supplier. 1099. no agglomerates were readily discernable [11] (Figure 13. linear low-density polyethylene reactor powder is sometimes used.M.H. there may be a risk of its availability being discontinued as happened with PP reactor powder used in an experimental pin barrelled extruder.11 Photomicrographs showing pigment dispersion improved by using starved feeding with polymer powder.

3) The blend is discharged into a slow speed mixer or into stirred separate easily cleanable or dedicated containers. be at a very low overall concentration. As explained in Chapter 2. and melt to a low viscosity liquid which provides the pigment wetting. preventing agglomeration should small particles be pressed together during mixing. The attraction of this approach has probably declined over more recent years following the introduction of very small twin screw compounding extruders. the medium into which pigments are to be dispersed should ideally have a low viscosity such that it can easily wet powders and penetrate between particles. which might adversely affect the final moulded product’s qualities. will. be compatible with the main polymer constituting the masterbatch carrier. similar to the type used for polyvinylchloride (PVC) dry blend powder compound preparations (Figure 13. is that the opposite situation is normally the case.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion An advantage of this process is that a number of small single screw extruders which are of relatively low cost. A range of such waxes can be found in polymer wax suppliers’ literature [12]. at possibly 15% of the masterbatch. Polymeric binders can be selected to be polar or non-polar to match the pigment polarity.13: 1) The polymer wax melts to become a low viscosity liquid which wets and coats the pigment particles 2) About 5 °C-10 °C above the wax melting point.12). 240 . the wax level. During mixing. The reality with plastics extrusion. Some viscosity reducing matrices can also be favoured to improve distributive mixing during screw processing [13]. An example taken from a Luwax brochure [12] is as follows: Formulation: 25% Ultramarine blue 15% Luwax A or Luwax AL3 60% PE or PP granules Mixing is carried out in a high speed/cooler combination mixer. As the level of pigment in a masterbatch can be 25-50% or higher. the temperature rises with time as shown in Figure 13. 4) The cooled blend is compounded into pellets using a single screw extruder. the wax/pigment mixture forms a coating on the plastics granules. can economically produce small orders for specialised colours. They can be easily cleaned between batches or maybe dedicated to a single colour.

For ‘easy to disperse’ pigments. 241 . Figure 13.12 Single screw masterbatch compounding using high speed mixing/ wax techniques. For example: 50% titanium dioxide 10% chalk 5% Luwax (HDPE wax)* 34% low-density polyethylene granules 1% antioxidant *These are polymeric waxes suitable for styrenics. PVC and polyamide. the level of wax can be reduced.Dispersive Mixing of Fillers and Pigments Figure 13.13 Behaviour of wax/pigment blend during high speed mixing.

p. M. 9. Polymer Engineering and Science. 4.J. Maddock. 4. 13. 155. Smith. 6. p. DC. Thompson. 1099. Donoian and J. 9. G. 56. 1973. 7. 1974. Journal of the Oil and Colour Chemists’ Association. USA. 126. Washington. Atlanta. Smith. 2000. 56.95. J McKelvey in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. MA.K.M. GA. G.268. 1959. 40. M. Christiano.143. G. 12.J. Germany.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion References 1. 56. 1. Smith. B. Luwax Brochure. 41.D.H. p. Polymer Engineering and Science.R.507. USA. 1973. 5. Montreal.H. Britton. 7. Benkreira and R. 165.M. Boston. Small and J.N. 1991.A. Weise in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. M. 3. J. Campbell. 2001. 2014. Ludwigshafen. 3. Journal of the Oil and Colour Chemists’ Association. 11. 5.M. 8. SPE Journal. Nagarajan. G. Van Wunnik. 57. V. p. 1995. Elemans and J. 2. 1975. 1973. Journal of the Oil and Colour Chemists’ Association. H. 15. 242 . USA. Staples in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. P. Canada. BASF Performance Chemicals. 10.P. M. 3. 1978. Journal of the Oil and Colour Chemists’ Association. 1994. 383. International Polymer Processing. Gale in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC.J. 205. 5. 9. Smith. 36.J. M.

Other materials will be re-used as appropriate as single polymers. This raises the question of: how large is this niche? 14. 5]. polymer blends can be put into three categories: 1) Combinations which give properties that are better than might be expected from their individual properties.14 Dispersive Mixing Applied to Polymer Blending Single screw extruders generally give poor dispersive mixing and the blending of polymers is theoretically a dispersive mixing process requiring elongational shear as for the dispersion of pigments and agglomerates [1-3]. 243 . There are numerous published articles examining many polymer combinations whilst two books on the subject consist of several volumes [4. as much of the fundamental work. For this situation the terminology is as follows: Scrap defines process scrap produced during product extrusion plus any additional converting operations such as edge trim and skeletal scrap from thermoforming. it is apparent that there should be a niche for single screw extruders. 2) Combinations which offer a predictable but useful balance of properties at an economic cost. Co-extrusion scrap will become a polymer blend. which dates back to the 1930s uses simple laminar shear flow models and Couette flow. However. 3) Useful materials which can result from homogenising difficult to separate mixed polymer scrap and waste. Complete (100%) separation may not be economic. In most cases internal mixers or twin screw extruders are used for compounding polymer blends.1 Polymer Blends In practical terms. Waste defines post consumer materials such as used packaging and ‘end-of-life’ products such as computer housings.

but this will also be influenced by a number of variables as explained below. These include low temperature ductility/impact and processability including injection moulding. They will usually have properties which are predictable from their component properties and blend ratio. New materials have been produced from existing polymers by using combinations where the advantages of the one compensates for the disadvantages of the other. Without compatibilisation. An example is a blend of polyamide-6 (PA6) or polyamide-66 (PA66) with polypropylene (PP) [7]. This blend has a higher service temperature than PP and a lower water absorption than polyamide (PA). There are a number of exceptions. The polymerisation process may also play a part. 2) Immiscible Blends: These polymer blends have separate phases. mechanical properties may be poor. These blends can generally be identified by retaining transparency of the original polymers and by having a single glass transition point. as well as applications in business machine and electronic sectors. thermal ageing in hot wet environments and halogen free flame retardency [8]. This increases impact strength by restricting crack propagation. The blends provide the balance of properties required for these applications at an economic cost. much like an oil in water emulsion with the minor phase suspended as droplets in the continuous major phase (or matrix). The majority of polymer blends are in this category. With the addition of materials to provide compatibilisation. Such blends are usually proprietary compounds produced by polymer manufacturers to specific technical specifications as for a single polymer. PS has a higher viscosity than PE and consequently dispersing the minor phase will be easier when it is PE and harder when it is PS. and it is also possible to have a reversible change from miscible to immiscible with the same blend as the temperature is raised [6]. polymer blends can provide properties which are better than might be predicted from those of the individual components.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion In terms of morphology we can divide blends into two categories: 1) Miscible Blends: Those which are readily compatible and can be easily combined by distributive mixing. An early example of enhanced properties is high impact polystyrene (HIPS) in which an elastomeric polymer exists as tiny droplets within a comparatively brittle continuous phase. The commercial growth has been maintained by developments in heat stability. extrusion and thermoforming. Polycarbonate (PC)/acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) represents a typical blend that from its commercial introduction in the 1960s has become a major material in the automotive industry. 244 . Blends of polyethylene (PE) or PP with polystyrene (PS) have lower mould shrinkage and increased hardness compared with PE and improved stress cracking resistance compared with PS [9].

Dispersive Mixing Applied to Polymer Blending Conventional mixing of PE with PS for a broad compositional range will give poor mechanical properties if the separate phases are not held together with a compatibiliser. UK. Goodchild.1 Example of a miscibility guide Polymer PS PA PC PVC PP LDPE HDPE PET PS Y N N N N N N N Y N N N N N N Y N N N N N Y N N N N Y N N N Y N N Y N Y PA PC PVC PP LDPE HDPE PET Y = miscible. 2nd Edition. The phases will easily debond except at very low temperatures [5]. 245 . Higher tensile strength and low elongation at break will result from the PS and yield stress will be lower than either alone as a result of poor interfacial bonding. Shawbury. N = immiscible HDPE: High-density polyethylene LDPE: Low-density polyethylene PET: Polyethylene terephthalate PVC: Polyvinylchloride Reproduced with permission from V. Table 4. Smithers Rapra Technology. Fayt and co-workers [10] produced laboratory samples of some interesting polymer combinations such as: 1) PS/PE (superior weathering to HIPS) 2) Polymethylmethacrylate/styrene acrylonitrile (better impact than ABS) 3) Polyvinylidene fluoride/Noryl (improved physico-mechanical properties) 4) PS/PA6 (range of very different properties) Although most polymers are (surprisingly) incompatible as shown in Table 14. Shrewsbury. Introduction to Plastics Recycling.. By using suitable diblock copolymer emulsifiers (compatibilisers). they are blended during film extrusion to meet specific properties such as stiffness. although co-extrusion can sometimes achieve superior properties at lower cost [12]. film thickness etc. within cost restraints.1. Table 14. 2007.1 [11].

can produce useful products where the material to be recycled consists of polymer mixtures. This may require homogenisation by a ‘buried layer’ extruder. The perceived need for dispersive mixing for polymer blending raises the question as to how single screw extruders. With the generation of up to 40% skeletal scrap from thermoforming plus extruded sheet edge trim.9. but there are instances where a separate extrusion line processing 100% scrap with suitable screw mixing facilities is necessary. This machine may need a specific mixing screw to homogenise the scrap sufficiently to avoid ripples and other surface defects.2 Polymer Scrap With the need for improved barrier properties to meet food shelf life requirements. 14.1). and PET. However. as happens so often in extrusion. For example: 1) PS is immiscible with polyolefines.4 Blending Immiscible Viscous Fluids Mixing two incompatible polymers together is regarded as a dispersive mixing process [1-3].Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 14. Providing various housekeeping and quality issues are met. 2) PP is immiscible with PE. 14. much of the research into polymer blending has focussed directly or indirectly on recycling post consumer waste. nothing can be taken for granted. which are poor dispersive mixers.3 Polymer Waste In recent years. but miscible with HDPE ([14] see also Table 14. there should be no mixing difficulties. re-use will be necessary for the process to remain economic. Scrap may also be extrusions with dimensional or appearance defects which can be reused blended with virgin polymer at an agreed ratio. Much of this is packaging consisting mainly of polyolefines but also significant amounts of PS. An audit [13] is summarised in section 14. From this data we can be confident that the recycling of polymer waste will include mixing of immiscible materials. 3) Linear low-density polyethylene is immiscible with LDPE. extruded films and sheet may have five layers or more using three or more polymers. The dispersed phase of the blend exists as tiny droplets of a few microns 246 .

Depending on relative viscosities. • The smaller the drop. The situation of a droplet within a continuous phase has been defined as follows [15]: • ‘When one liquid is at rest in another immiscible liquid of the same density. A minimum size was eventually reached below which break-up could not be achieved regardless of shear rate. and it is assumed from fundamental theory that they originate from large droplets which need to be broken down into smaller ones. the higher the shear rate needed to break it. i. Flumerfelt [17]. a critical shear rate was reached in which the droplet broke up into smaller droplets. showed that in a simple shear field. Karam and Bellinger [15] used Couette flow (also described in Chapter 2) with an annulus formed by counter-rotating concentric glass cylinders. the more unstable it becomes and hence it tends to break up. it assumes the form of a spherical drop. Any movement of the outer fluid will distort the drop because of the dynamic and viscous forces which act on its surface. • The more a drop is deformed. Experiments carried out to develop the droplet dispersion theory have mainly used apparatus applying simple laminar shear flow.Dispersive Mixing Applied to Polymer Blending diameter within the continuous phase. There is therefore an analogy with pigment and filler dispersion in which dispersive forces break agglomerates down into their ultimate particle size. using non-Newtonian fluids. 247 . as subsequently used by Theodorou for agglomerates described in Chapter 2. a spherical drop becomes ellipsoidal with the major axis and inclined at about 45º from perpendicular to the shear field.. larger particle diameter. There are also many differences. the greater the ease of break-up of the liquid drop. Most papers refer to work in the 1930s by Taylor [16] who carried out model experiments observing droplets in laminar shear fields produced by two parallel belts moving in opposite directions.e. Taylor’s work with Newtonian liquids showed that elongation of a droplet is favoured by low interfacial tension. the mechanism existing in single screw extrusion. matrix viscosity and high shear rates. Other factors include: • The higher the viscosity of the continuous phase. Interfacial tension however will tend to keep the drop spherical’.

when mixing two polymers together by laminar shear. According to Taylor. mixing small quantities of a high viscosity material into a low viscosity polymer is more difficult than mixing a small quantity of a low viscosity polymer into a high viscosity polymer. 248 . laminar shear flow fails to achieve a critical level of stress needed to break up the droplet.1 Droplet in laminar shear field.1).Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 14. In the latter case the inclined droplets had pointed ends where very small drops broke away in a stream. This also indicates that a limit may exist in single screw extruders whereby under certain conditions. As mentioned in Chapter 12. the breaking up of a single drop requires the viscous forces acting on the droplet to exceed the interfacial forces for a sufficient amount of time. Droplet break-up was less likely to exist where it had either a relatively high or relatively low viscosity. their viscosities should ideally be similar. This also applies to the break-up of droplets. These were unlike the relatively high viscosity droplets which showed an ellipsoid shape nearly aligned with the flow direction (Figure 14. Furthermore.

Shawbury.Dispersive Mixing Applied to Polymer Blending The requirement that for droplet deformation the tension of the deforming matrix (continuous phase) must overcome the interfacial tension. By plotting critical Weber numbers against viscosity ratio (ρ). ©1988. Rapra Technology) 249 . de Jong in a Rapra Seminar – Making More of the Cavity Transfer Mixer. Rapra Technology. can be expressed as a ratio termed the Weber number (We) where: We =  Tension of the matrix µmγ = Interfacial tension s /R  Where γ = rate of shear or elongation of the matrix µm = the viscosity of the matrix s = the coefficient of the interfacial tension R = radius of the undeformed droplets Critical values for Weber numbers at which droplet break-up occurs have been determined using the moving belt. UK.2 are produced: ρ= µd µm where ρ = the viscosity ratio µd = the dispersed phase viscosity µm = the matrix viscosity Figure 14.2 Critical Weber number versus viscosity ratio. Shrewsbury. Paper No. roller and Couette flow techniques (Chapter 2). curves of the shape shown in Figure 14.15. (Reproduced with permission from E.

In a similar manner to dispersing a pigment into smaller particles. Following the increasing viscosity (from left to right) particle break-up will occur following the mechanism of C and then B (in Figure 14. falling quickly as the material temperature rapidly increased. There appeared to be some similarity with the mixing on melting feature in single screw extruders described in Chapter 7. well above the limit of about 4 for laminar shear mixing. which will apply to single screw extruders shows a cut-off point where the ratio of disperse phase viscosity to continuous phase viscosity reaches a value of about 4. they carried out polymer blend mixing studies using a Haake Rheocord torque rheometer (a laboratory batch mixer which continuously records drive torque and melt temperature during mixing). Samples were mixed for times varying from 1 to 15 minutes and examined by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) following solvent extraction of the PS. the larger droplets are broken down into smaller droplets.1) with condition A occurring at a ratio approaching 4. rather like a pigment or filler agglomerate. 250 . Practical experience indicates that this cannot be true. but by using either laminar shear or extensional flow. The graph for laminar shear flow. Blends were prepared using 20wt% amorphous PA as the disperse phase in PS.2. There is also the question as to how droplets are formed in the first place? Scott and Macosko [18] noted conclusions by others that the most significant changes in polymer blend morphology occurred during the first few minutes of mixing when polymer softening and melting occurred [19]. After only one minute (which included about 27 seconds loading time) the materials ranged through several mixing stages: 1) Unmelted pellets.5 Polymer Blending Mechanisms in a Single Screw Extruder The theory considers the minor phase of a blend starting as a larger droplet suspended in the matrix or continuous phase.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 14. Overall this indicates that a polymer blend of small dispersed droplets in a continuous phase cannot be produced using a single screw extruder if the viscosity ration of the disperse phase to the continuous phase is greater than 4. Viscosity ratio of PA:PS was about 14.some with holes. the extensional/hyperbolic flow behaviour covering a wide viscosity ratio indicates the suitability of internal mixers and twin screw compounding extruders for reducing the droplet size of the dispersed phase. 2) Areas of sheets and ribbons . For their investigation into this behaviour. Referring to Figure 14. noting also the very high torque recorded during the first minute.

• The lace fragments so formed were of a similar diameter to the particles generated at a later mixing time. • When holes reached sufficient numbers and size. This was fitted with a Ross ISG static mixer with one element to provide a stretching.Dispersive Mixing Applied to Polymer Blending 3) A lace structure. The results overall indicated the following mechanisms: • Dragging of pellets by the rotors across the mixer wall formed sheets or ribbons of the dispersed phase within the matrix. PA6 and compatibiliser in the ratio 85:12:3 wt%. a fragile lace structure was formed which fell apart. 251 .8 µm occurred after the single static mixer element. These could be fibrils or droplets. • Breakdown continued until all fragments became spherical. instability caused holes to form. A further reduction to 0. Huong and Li [22] demonstrated the transformation from striation to droplet using a blend of PP. with very little further change over the remaining nine neutral elements. This was demonstrated in experiments by Willemse and co-workers [20] using blends of 5 and 17. Morphology of the extrudate structures was examined and measured using SEM following solvent extraction of the PS. When considering that the start of the droplet formation route in Scott and Makosco’s investigation was the conversion of pellets into ribbons by the torque rheometer it is no surprise that a single screw extruder can produce polymer blends using the same series of mechanisms.5-3 µm diameter. 4) Spherical particles 0.5 wt% PS in PE extruded in a conventional 20 mm diameter extruder. • Due to interfacial tension. Pellets (3 mm) were reduced to a dispersed phase sheet thickness of 2 µm by the extruder as predicted by calculation.2 to 0. followed by up to 10 neutral tubular elements which extended residence time at constant shear. Within another half minute there were many particles resulting from disintegration of the lace structure and by seven minutes nearly all disperse phase material was spherical particles. folding and cutting mechanism (‘bakers transformation’ [21]).

Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion A 30:1 L/D single screw extruder was used to compare three different screw designs: 1) Conventional 2) Conventional with addition of a fluted element about 2D long, positioned 18D from the feed end. 3) Conventional screw with addition of a pineapple/pinned element fitted in the same position. Materials were sampled via bleed ports before and after the mixer and at the screw tip. Overall the fluted element was the most effective and the plain screw the least in transforming striations into droplets. The final droplet sizes were approximately of the same order at 2.8, 2.1 and 2.6 µm.

14.6 Break-up of Fibrils into Droplets
This is not necessarily a requirement as the threads may be an effective reinforcement. This behaviour has been comprehensively reviewed [23], whilst the mechanism for commercial polymer combinations has been clearly illustrated in experiments by Elemans and co-workers [24] from observations of droplet formation from filaments used to measure interfacial tension. The procedure was to sandwich extruded threads between two films placed between glass slides and observe under a microscope during heating to an appropriate temperature. (Figure 14.3). LDPE, HDPE and PA6 threads in PS film were examined. Depending on viscosities, filament thickness, and interfacial tension, with the same thread diameter of 20 µm, the time required ranged from 50 seconds for PA6/PS to several hours for PS/LDPE. Adding a diblock copolymer (compatibiliser) to the thread phase decreased interfacial tension for HDPE thread in PS at 200 °C from nearly 5 mN/m to a constant value of one over a range of 1-5 wt% (Figure 14.4). This increased the stability of the molten thread, as also observed by Yu and co-workers [25]. In addition to experiments with an extruder having a single static mixer element and neutral elements described previously, Willemse and co-workers [20] used the Ross ISG static mixer with its full compliment of 11 elements fed with two separate melt streams of PE and PS. Results showed that 2000 µm sheets reduced to 1 µm after 6 elements. Thereafter they remained as 0.3-0.4 µm particles. Results were very similar for both 5 wt% and 17.5 wt% PS. Overall, they concluded that the critical thickness for sheet break-up was not dependent on the viscosity of the matrix. Whether the threads broke up or not depended on the 252

Dispersive Mixing Applied to Polymer Blending

Figure 14.3 Stages in break-up of a PA6 thread embedded in polystyrene. (Reproduced with permission from P.H.M. Elemans, J.M.H. Janssen and H.E.H. Meijer, Journal of Rheology, 1990, 34, 8, 1311.)

Figure 14.4 Influence of compatibiliser on surface tension. (Reproduced with permission from P.H.M. Elemans, J.M.H. Janssen and H.E.H. Meijer, Journal of Rheology, 1990, 34, 8, 1311.)

capillary number (which is the same as the Weber number in Section 14.4). A fibre matrix was formed if the capillary number was >1, and a droplet if it was <1. 253

Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion

14.7 Polymer Blending in Single Screw Extrusion: Overall Mechanism
Adapting the diagram of Scott and Macosko [18] we get an overall picture as shown in Figure 14.5 This diagram shows a stepwise process, but as Scott and Macosko showed, the stages will experience considerable overlap, and ribbons, net, net fragments, threads, and particles, will co-exist in changing proportions. The main feature is the orderly and apparently predictable procession of mechanisms leading from pellet to emulsion. The process is promoted by instability. Surface tension promotes change to minimum surface area: the ultimate most stable configuration being a sphere (i.e., a droplet). This effect causes the ribbons to break up into nets and fibrils, and also causes the fibrils to break up into droplets; overall a very efficient process. The critical question is: ‘Does this mechanism mean that single screw extruders are equally as good as twin screw extruders for polymer blending?’ With no elongational shear there could be limits related to viscosity ratio, particularly as there can be difficulties in laminar shear mixing of viscous fluids with widely differing viscosities. However, results by Yu and co-workers [25] for trials using a viscosity ratio of 34 at 180 °C and 45 at 160 °C indicates that this may not be a limitation for many applications.

Figure 14.5 Dispersion mechanism for polymer blending in a single screw extruder. 254

Dispersive Mixing Applied to Polymer Blending These trials were carried out using 5:95 wt% PS:LDPE which had viscosity ratios of 34 at 180 °C and 45 at 160 °C. The apparatus comprised two separately extruded polymer streams feeding a barrel flighted plain mandrel screw evaluator [25] fitted with a ‘pineapple’ mixer. The overall arrangement was similar to that described in Section 8.6. The blends were also prepared with 0.5 wt% Kraton compatibiliser precompounded into the PS. To facilitate comparison of the results in their graphs, those for 30 and 90 rpm are presented in Table 14.2.

Table 14.2 Polymer blending results using a flighted barrel/plain mandrel screw evaluator fitted with a Pineapple mixer
PS (wt%) LDPE (wt%) Kraton (wt%) Speed (rpm) Temperature (°C) Viscosity Particle ratio (ρ) size (µm) Comment

5 5 5 5 5 5

95 95 95 95 95 95

0 0.5 0 0.5 0 0.5

30 30 90 90 30 90

180 180 180 180 160 160

34 34 34 34 45 45

11 9.5 6.5 5.5 13 8

Large blobs also present No large blobs -

The results show that small particles are produced with viscosity ratios of up to 45. The influence of rotational speed is also of interest, showing a similarity to the mixer evaluation trials in Section 8.5.3, noting also that in this evaluation the pineapple mixers had an average to poor mixing performance compared with other devices. The presence of Kraton compatibiliser promoted formation of a slightly smaller droplet size. It is also interesting to compare the orderly mechanism for single screw polymer blending with those found by Gogos and co-workers [26] when replacing the single screw evaluator with a co-rotating twin screw evaluator. In this case four mixing mechanisms were identified: 1) ‘Taylor-like’ droplet dispersion. 2) Retarded Taylor dispersion. 255

Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 3) The Scott and Macosco mechanism. 4) Dispersion by brittle fracture of the minor component. It was also found that with a high viscosity matrix, coalescence could occur when laminar flow stresses were high enough, more so at high temperatures. With a high viscosity matrix at low temperatures, flocculation and clustering might produce weaknesses such as moulded-in weld lines. For single screw extruders the ‘ribbon-to-droplets’ process should be reasonably consistent as it relies on the natural instability which occurs due to surface tension effects during thinning of film (to produce fibrils) and of fibrils/threads (to promote droplets). This consistency is shown in the work described using mainly separately fed melt streams to static and dynamic mixers, and a conventional single screw extruder with conventional mixing devices. The work with a high viscosity ratio [26] for the two polymers as separate melt streams provided good mixing. This leads to the question of whether single screw extruders produce mixtures of ribbons from a pellet blend of two polymers of widely differing viscosity with the disperse phase thin enough to form fibrils? As melting of individual pellets involves rubbing against the hot barrel surface, striations will be formed whatever the viscosity. However, with the difficulties of laminar shear mixing a small proportion of a high viscosity material into a low viscosity material as described in Chapter 12, it appears likely that the outcome will depend on both the viscosity ratio and screw design. This limit may well depend on whether a conventional or barrier screw is used and what (if any) mixing or shearing elements are added. It appears that there can be situations where droplet size reduction may be a limited by a high viscosity ratio. Herridge and Krueger [27] compared three mixers driven independently of the extruder. These were a Maddock type shearing element, a cavity transfer mixer (CTM) and a Couette type mixer with a 0.5 mm clearance between the smooth rotor and smooth barrel. The mixers were 90 mm diameter with 2.3 L/D and the extruder 32mm diameter by 24:1 L/D with 3:1 channel depth ratio. Extruder feed material was 98% PP blended with 2% PS using PP grades varying from 325 to 2 g/10 min melt flow index with the same grade PS to give viscosity ratios ranging from 0.7 to 17. The mixer speeds ranged from 25 to 100 rpm for a constant extruder speed. The results showed that at the low viscosity ratio, all blends had sub micron diameters for all three mixers at all speeds. At viscosity ratios of 17 and 8, (i.e., above the critical limit of 4), the smooth rotor performance was poor. The CTM was better than the Maddock, with the frequency of occasional large minor phase particles being reduced with increased rotor speed, particularly for this mixer. Minor phase particle sizes ranged from 2-3 µm at viscosity ratio 2 to 15 µm at 8. 256

However.Dispersive Mixing Applied to Polymer Blending 14. Extrusion using ‘smart blending’ has been considered using intermittent turning of an extruder screw flight independently of the screw core [30]. and folded and measured the thickness of each after each cycle. The difference is that chaotic mixing produces ‘branches’ which overall tend to produce a type of network.20 for part way mixing using a CTM. The term ‘chaotic advection’ is attributed to Aref [28]. It was based on an eccentric Couette type geometry with alternately and repetitively rotating inner and outer cylinders [32]. For products with defined electrical resistance. excessive mixing will increase electrical resistance by breaking down the carbon black structure. Established ones where an overall optimum mixing is required include fibre reinforcement where adequate wetting by the matrix is necessary without reducing fibre length by over-mixing. and a series of baffles in the screw channel has been used [31]. there was no dynamic extrusion device which would exactly reproduce this technique in extrusion although mixing by static mixers could be similar. In both cases optimum mixing is required. The mixing system used gives striation patterns not very dissimilar to those shown in Figure 2. 257 . In more recent years an extrusion process has been devised which goes a step further by controlling mixing to provide specific structures and properties. A batch chaotic mixer consisting of two cylindrical rotors in a figure-of-eight chamber used by Sau and Jana achieved smaller disperse phase particles of PP in PA6 than obtained with a Brabender Plasticorder for the same total strain [33]. sometimes termed the ‘bakers method’ [21]. The increase in interfacial area (as a measure of mixing) plotted as a function of elongational area showed this technique was an effective blending mechanism. Practical application of smart blending has required some ingenuity. He carried out model experiments using ‘silly putty’ starting with two coloured layers placed on top of one another. However. The mixing mechanism used for this type of mixing is stretching and folding. However a practical technique and a number of diverse applications have been described by Zumbrunnen and co-workers. As a result of the control achievable. there can be potential opportunities for exploiting structures which occur as a result of partial mixing. the overall mixing procedure can be described as ‘smart blending’. This technique follows the principles demonstrated in earlier work using a simple batch mixer. Markers showed a non-integrable (or ‘chaotic’) movement (or advection). This he repeatedly stretched by hand. This was shown by Erwin to be an effective method for mixing [29].8 Mixing by Controlled Continuous Chaotic Advection Most single screw extrusion mixing has the objective of producing products in which the additives are as finely divided and as well mixed as possible to achieve product quality at economic output rates.

it has been included as it lends itself to both single screw extrusion as a whole and is particularly relevant to polymer blending). Zumbrunnen and B. p. MA. Separate polymer melt streams which can be base polymer and masterbatch or two different polymers are fed by two extruders and gear pumps through the independently driven mixer and leave via a die. The minor phase or masterbatch enters via a series of ports spaced in a circle to provide a uniform strand entry. the degree of blending can be controlled such that striations will exist in the product at a controlled thickness and orientation in the extrusion.A. 2005.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 14. By adjusting these rotor turning variables. 258 . USA. (Reproduced with permission from D. (Although a separate device decoupled from the single screw extruder. The rig also differs from the mixer evaluation arrangements in Chapter 8 in that the stirring rods are rotated independently in turn for discrete time intervals in an oval barrel and drive rotation can be repeatedly reversed to provide the necessary folding action. Kulshreshtha and A. ©2005.6 Schematic representation of a continuous chaotic advection blender and related control system. SPE) This mixing system was transferred to continuous extrusion by using a general arrangement similar to that shown in Figure 14. in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. Boston.238. Dhoble.6 [34].

3) Films of PP were produced from 20% blends with ethylene-propylene diene terpolymer (EPDM) and with LDPE having multiple layers. 2) Linear low density films with ethylene vinyl alcohol copolymer (EVOH) had optimum oxygen barrier properties with the continuous platelet structure reducing permeation by 238 and 355 times for 20% and 30% EVOH. the amount used in 2002 was about 35% of total plastics usage [13].Dispersive Mixing Applied to Polymer Blending A combination of the chaotic mixing mechanism and the selection of an optimum mixing regime enables structures to be obtained at selected parts of the striation-todroplet structures achieved by Scott and Makosco described in Section 14. film. Figures for 259 . These values were greater than those typically found for a droplet structure [37]. depending on mixer rotation speed and sequences.5. In the UK. 14. The chaotic mixing mechanism supports the development of a unidirectional striated (‘tape’) structure which provides the multiple layers required for the unidirectional properties required in films for oxygen barrier and impact properties and in some circumstances for electrical properties. ribbons and droplets. Values approached those for co-extruded films with optimum barrier properties and also provided optimum mechanical properties which were not significantly less than for co-extruded barrier films [36]. respectively. a 4% nanoclay masterbatch prepared in a twin screw compounding extruder was combined in a 50:50 blend with the natural PA6 using the chaotic mixer. Impact strengths for EPDM modification were increased by up to 760% and for smaller but significant values for LDPE addition. Permeability calculations indicated that closing pathways around platelets resulted in values approaching zero [38].5 wt% overall carbon black content [35].9 Blending Mixed Polymer Waste: Comparison of Twin Screw and Single Screw Extruders In many countries a high proportion of household waste plastics is packaging. The incorporated material can be a masterbatched additive or a second polymer. interconnecting layers. 4) In the extrusion of PA6/nanoclay composite films. Four examples of extruded cast films from articles by Zumbrunen and co-authors illustrating typical material combinations for which this technique can be applied are: 1) Linear low density films with minimum electrical resistances in both machine and transverse directions were achieved for 2.

Kallel and co-workers compared the morphology of PE/PS and PE/PP and mechanical properties of injection moulded test pieces. 24% bottles and 33% ‘other’ and ‘dense’ plastics. and PET. small boxes. and 1% PVC. but the process involved two passes through the single screw extruder [39].0 but that for PE:PP was about 10 at lower shear rates. 4) The presence of PP (commonly 10%) will make the LDPE stiffer but reduces both elongation at break and impact strength. Charpy impact strengths of injection moulded specimens were correspondingly higher. polyethyleneterephthalate The separation of PP from LDPE is not a viable process. 2) Most of this is LDPE with some PP. in comparing twin and single screw extruders for compounding mixed polymer waste streams with real situations in mind. 10% PET. Hence. Consequently. Typically the morphology of the PE/PS/styrene-ethylene/butylene-styrene (80/20/7) blend was finer for the compounds prepared in the single screw extruder than for the twin screw. trays etc in PP. the latter using actual waste polymers. blends without compatibilisation may have poor mechanical properties. but mixed with other polyolefins such as PP and HDPE. and also contaminated with PS. their relative performances should ideally include compatibilisation. PS. As mentioned in Section 14. PVC. 3) Hydrocycloning will separate polymers with densities >1 such as PS. Compositions covered both components in each pair as the minor phase.1. and Bertin and Robin [40]. lids. PS foam. recycling film waste is likely to involve mainly LDPE. The viscosity ratio for the PE:PS was about 1.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion such plastics waste shows about 42% was film in its various forms such as carrier bags. ‘Other’ and ‘dense’ plastics presumably consisted of such items as thermoformed pots. This approach has been taken by both Kallel and co-workers [39]. 260 . The 24% waste for bottles was represented by 13% HDPE. Although bottles are comparatively easy to separate from other waste and between polymer types. Overall the compatibiliser produced up to a four fold increase in impact strength. there is a need to extrude/homogenise polymer blends. Bertin and Robin [40] used both virgin and recycled LDPE/PP blends with a compatibiliser on the basis of the following summary: 1) Polyolefines comprise about 60-70% of plastic household waste.

they indicate that single screw extruders need to be designed specifically for recycling. Results for uncompatibilised blends prepared in a 35 L/D single screw extruder with a high compression screw and mixing device running at 35 rpm were compared with those for a twin screw extruder 32 L/D run at 35-50 rpm.Dispersive Mixing Applied to Polymer Blending This investigation showed compatibilisation will significantly improve elongation at break and Charpy impact strength of samples compression moulded from extrudates prepared with a twin screw extruder. The direct extrusion of post consumer mixed polyolefin waste into film using standard film blowing plant would provide significant economic benefits. the important role played by screw speed should also be considered. These provided 261 . Other mechanical properties were reasonably similar. and Song [43] used round plates forming concentric annular ridges and troughs (Figure 14. Although no firm conclusions concerning the suitability of single screw extruders for processing mixed polyolefin waste can be drawn from these two small scale extrusion investigations. 90/10) the twin screw extruder produced better tensile properties and more homogeneity. Joshi and co-workers [41] found an optimum screw speed was dictated by shear rates and residence time. They concluded that (with LDPE/PP.2%. In judging polymer blending performance in single screw extruders. From the results. Although the addition of screw shearing elements and add-on devices are unlikely to satisfactorily disperse pigments and fillers agglomerates. there is a generally continuing interest in fitting elongational mixing devices to provide dispersive mixing for polymer blending and elimination of gels which can often appear during film extrusion. respectively. Gramann and co-workers [42] used parallel bars arranged in successive rows at right angles.10 Elongational Flow Mixing There will probably always be an interest in achieving elongational flow mixing in single screw extruders to provide good dispersion without incurring the capital costs of twin screw extruders. the elongation at break for virgin materials and for post consumer materials were 28% and 17. 14.7). It is recognised that polymer melts will experience shearing during passage over the barrier in the Maddock and other fluted elements. but that a single or minimal number of passes is very restrictive. Two quite different types of static mixer have been devised. and were greater for the twin screw extruder than for the single screw extruder. Specialised screws and mixing devices may be necessary to compensate for the lack of flexibility of screw configuration and feed rate independence available on twin screw extruders.

Orlando. 45]. Microscopic examination of an extruded strand cross section produced from a HDPE/PS (60:40 wt%) pellet blend showed a domain size gradient from 2 µm in the central region to 20 µm in the outer third region.270. This type of mixer had also enabled a single screw extruder achieve better dispersion than a twin screw extruder (the latter with or without the mixer) when producing PA6/clay nanocomposites [44.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Figure 14. Trials with HDPE/PS (10:90 wt%) showed fibrils became droplets during passage through the mixer and that impact strengths for ethylene-propylene rubber/PP blends were superior to blends produced by twin screw extrusion.11). Song. but this may have been due to the type of gels present (see Section 14.7 Radial static dispersive mixer.11 Elimination of Gels Gels usually appear as tiny unsightly spheres about pin head size and are often found in packaging films. The potential for a reduction in gels in extruded films was of specific interest. 14. FL. ©2000. Their appearance can be magnified by their disturbance 262 . in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. but in all cases variations occurred with screw speed with no clear trends [48]. USA. A cross section diagram [40] shows that flow from the extruder is through a central feed to the entrance around the periphery via a tube die. spider type arrangement. the designs and applications were very diverse. A mixing element by Rauwendaal [46] using a combination of multi variable clearance flights and flights with slots was aimed at providing the required flow fields for dispersive mixing. Distributive mixing was achieved by re-arrangement between repeated dispersion stages. In mixer comparisons this Chris Rauwendaal Dispersive mixer (CRD) generally outperformed the others. In a wide range of single screw mixers reviewed by Schut [49]. The results reported for the CRD mixer were varied. SPE) alternating restrictive gaps and channels. Polymer entered around the periphery and left via a central hole. (Reproduced with permission from W. The coarser particles were attributed to droplet coalescence [47]. 2000 p.

References 1. Following confirmation. etc. as a result of stagnation (‘hang-up’) in corners of adaptors. the addition of antioxidant masterbatch should solve the problem (at increased material cost) providing good distributive mixing occurs. As with agglomerates. or may accumulate on the die face (die drool) [50-52]. causes and remedies. Screen packs will sieve out some gels. John Wiley. Tadmor and C. 263 .. USA. 1979. appear as ‘gel showers’ at irregular intervals. These (sometimes termed ‘unmelts’) may be higher molecular weight particles formed as a result of the polymerisation process. 2) Those that are unlikely to be dispersed by mixing. it is worth establishing which type of gels are present.Dispersive Mixing Applied to Polymer Blending to polymer flow in the die which may also cause lines which in severe cases reduce mechanical properties such as tear strength. The following are some factors which have little direct relevance to mixing but should be considered in film extrusion: 1) Are melt temperatures exceptionally high? 2) Are there ‘dog legs’ in film co-extrusion feed pipes? 3) Does the extruder and die experience extended periods at a high temperature between production runs? Adding antioxidant before shut down reduces risks of generating gels of oxidised polymer during extended cooling and reheating. Gogos. but having crosslinks enables gels regain their original spherical shape after being squashed through the mesh. dies. A short but concise article by Waller [53] reviewed the many types of gels. Before installing new screws or mixing devices to cure a gel problem. They may be scattered. Z. Principles of Polymer Processing. the best approach if they are crosslinked is to avoid their formation in the first place. They can also be mistaken for carbon black or pigment agglomerates. NY. Confirmation of crosslinks is possible using infra-red analysis.G.g. Oxidative crosslinking increases with exposure to high temperatures and long residence times. gels can be divided into two main types: 1) Those that might be dispersed by mixing. From an extrusion mixing aspect. e. NewYork. These are most likely crosslinked as a result of thermal oxidation.

Taylor and J. 7. L. Vasile. International Polymer Processing. 11. 182. 4. 4. 2nd Edition. 264 .J. A. UK. Flecke.C. Kluwer Academic Publications. 7.S. 501. Goodship. 1996. 10.. Rapra Technology Ltd.K. 5. 15.4. Birmingham. Vasile in Handbook of Polymer Blends and Composites. 2002-2003.178. D. 5. Shawbury. NY.1301 B. Peterborough.T. Series A. Girard in Proceedings of a Rapra Technology Seminar – Engineering with Blends and Alloys. Smithers Rapra. [2 Volumes] O. UK and RECOUP. 2002.J. Musil. Zerjal. Proceedings of the Royal Society. Waste on Line. 1979. 2007. Baik in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. R. Pregrad and B. 3-6. H. 1988. Ed. Teyssie . V. Woodston.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 2. 2. Fayt. Handbook of Polymer Blends and Composites. Kulshreshtha and C. The Netherlands. 2003. Grace. Aston Science Park. Academic Press. L. 225. Their original source was MEL. R. Taylor. Orlando. Volume 4A. USA. J. in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. Robeson and M. Rapra Technology. Volume 1. 146. IN. B. Hager. 13.gov. Shrewsbury. A.. USA. Bellinger. FL. Polymer Blends Handbook. Polymer Engineering and Science. 14. p. Eds. H. Kulshreshtha and C. UK. Karam and J. Olabisi. 8. Shrewsbury. 1989. UK.M. 1982. 2000.wasteonline. 12. Shrewsbury. UK. J. Chemical Engineering Communications. Chapter 4.. Dordrecht. B. Weng in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference-ANTEC Milwaukee WI USA 2008. 14. UK.uk.P. 6. G.I. [4 volumes]. USA. 16. H. Jerome and P. Polymer-Polymer Miscibility. Paper No. Shaw. 1934. 1987. 3-4. p. Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Fundamentals. Potente and J. Brebu and C. V. Shrewsbury.A. 27. Munteanu. Utraki.K. New York. www. Vasile. p. 2020. 9. Shawbury. Introduction to Plastics Recycling. M. Eds. Indianapolis. 1968. 3.209. Wittmann and E. 328.

H. 1999. C. Dumoulin in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. 18. 1991. Boston. H-X. Daigneault and M.ANTEC.ANTEC. USA.151. USA. D-W. J.W. S.C.B. Aref.W.C. 1311. 2020. D. B. van Dam and A. 1972. Herridge and D. p.E.1542. Materiaux et Techniques. Bomma. 28. 24. New York. Todd. Flumerfelt.152. 23.J. Li in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference ANTEC Cincinnati. Esseghir and C. St. D. 29.17. S. 21. L. 31. OH.R. 25. San Francisco. Jana in Proceedings of the SPE Annual Conference . John and S. 20. Volume 2.H. E. 1995. D. in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. J. 1999.J. Scott and C. Champagne. 2002. 8. 3. Willemse. Germain.M. Y. Marcel Dekker. J. Polymer. R. USA. 11. 40. Garritano in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. USA. MA. David.H. 26.J.M. p. NY. 6645. 312. 1990. H.A. 265 . S. 27. L.337. Campbell. Canada. 143.F. Paper No. p.A. 1. Yu. p. Journal of Fluid Mechanics. M. Sebastian and R.G. M.136. Gogos in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. Elemans. Paper No. 19.633. Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Fundamentals.. 24. C. 79. Macosco. MA. MA. Posthuma de Boer. Chempath in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference . 30. 3. Elmendorp in Mixing in Polymer Processing. 1991. USA. Janssen and H. 258.Dispersive Mixing Applied to Polymer Blending 17. 1978. Boston. Rauwendaal. Gogos. P.E. 1984. 11-12. Haneault. Meijer. 22. New Orleans. Montreal. Polymer Bulletin. 2007. Huang and X-J. p.E. R. Esseghir. 18. 2002. C. Ramaker. M. Krueger. M. Erwin. 34. 341. 1993. CA. G. Journal of Rheology. Polymer Engineering and Science. 26. CA. San Francisco.H. 1991.G. Ed. 1995.

2097. in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. V.A.A.A. USA. Boston. 42. 2003. Osswald and C.A. Utracki. Li and J. Kulshreshtha. Rauwendaal.A.J. 35.M. Dhoble and D. L. p. 1998. Gramann. USA. Robin. Volume 1. International Polymer Processing. Mahesha and D. Kallel. Bertin and J. C. USA. 39. USA. p. 2003. FL. 266 . 2006. Chougule. 2005. p.A. USA. 2005. 2003. Zumbrunnen in Proceedings of the 64th Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. Gerard and B. L. S.277. 43. GA. 1999. Dordrecht. MA. V. D. USA. New York. 45. in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. Elleuch. Boston. USA. Osswald. Rauwendaal. p. Paper No. B. Chapter 9. 37. 2001.238. MA. p.A.A. Atlanta. Orlando. M. in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. MA. 2002. B. 34. Journal of Applied Polymer Science. Zumbrunnen and B. Nashville. Boston. MA. Gramann and B. J.L. p. Massardier-Nageotti. 36. 38. 2006. 2005. 82. Zumbrunnen. Charlotte. Netherlands. USA. L. in Proceedings of the 63rd Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. Chougule and D. Sepehr. Nosker in Proceedings of the 63rd Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC.270. USA. p. Utracki.1299. T. Volume 1. Joshi. Zumbrunnen. NC. J-F. CA. Lehman and T. Dhoble. Zumbrunnen in Proceedings of the 63rd Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. Zumbrunnen. 11.2418. Ed. NY.A. 2000 p. USA. W.J. Utracki and G. R. P. 44. Kimmel and D. Davis. Kluwer Academic Publishers. 21. 90. Journal of Applied Polymer Science. in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. Jana in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference ANTEC. Song. 1569. V. in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. A. 2475. 2005. T. p. 40. 28. Boston. M.150. 2255 41.491.Z-H. P. San Francisco. European Polymer Journal. Shi in Polymer Blends Handbook. C. M.2976. TN.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 32. Jaziri. Kulshreshtha and A.C.A.162.A. 38. 1. Kwon and D. 2002. Davis. T. R. 33.. Sau and S. O. 46. 3.

M. 10. in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. Osswald. Rauwendaal. 50. International Polymer Processing. 7. 1113. 36. Chan. Polymer Engineering and Science. Volume 1. 12. 53. Plastics Technology. 51.D. N. C. 267 . 1995. USA. 37. Plastics Technology. p. 1999. J. Giacomin.167. Plastics Technology.H. 48. 36. B.Dispersive Mixing Applied to Polymer Blending 47.A. T. 49. 7. Gander and A. 1999. J. 7. Shut. del P Noriega and O. 52. 3. 45. J. Waller. 49.H. 33. 1997. NY. 1997. P. 24. Shut. 51. Estrasa. 2005. Gramann. Petiniot. 200. Rios. P.J. C-M. A. European Plastics News. Davis. 2. 45. 2003. New York.

Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 268 .

and the ability to combine compounding with product extrusion. A similar technique for incorporating filler was illustrated by Todd [5]. 269 . in which the elongational flow mixer (EFM) described in Chapter 15. To minimise both fibre damage and machine wear. Single screw extruders have advantages of lower cost. e. Even so. grafting reactions. Six examples are described next which indicate the diversity of single screw compounding applications which have been evaluated. there is interest in single screw innovations to improve their compounding attributes [2] whilst screw L/D ratios have been increased up to 50:1 operating at 800 rpm [3]. This applies to compounding materials which are not ‘extruder friendly. was used. is a consideration. 1) A 60 mm single screw extrusion line has been described by Sigl and Fritz [4]. abrasives. there is an inference that the single screw extruder machine’s attribute of being easier and cheaper to maintain. 2) Comparisons were made by Utracki and Sepehr [6] between single and twin screw extruders for compounding nano-clays into polyamide-6 and PP. including several comparisons with twin screw extruders. A bar chart by Black [1] shows that more single screw extruders than twin screw are being used for production compounding.. it appears that the compounding machines normally used are co-rotating twin screw extruders. the fibres were added to molten polymer via a downstream port into a decompression zone. ruggedness. The combination of single screw extruder plus EFM produced better dispersions than were achieved with a twin screw extruder with or without an EFM. ease of maintenance. For production compounding. by a single pass compounding/sheet extrusion process. In some cases. simplicity. the situation is different. feed rate/screw speed decoupling. recycling and so on.15 Compounding with Single Screw Extruders From the numerous technical publications covering investigations into nano-materials.g. and multiple ports for venting and solids addition. This ‘single pass’ process produced thermoformable sheet with the high impact properties required by the automotive industry. which produced long glass fibre reinforced polypropylene (PP) sheet (glass mat reinforced thermoplastic). They lack the dispersive mixing performance and the considerable flexibility of screw configuration.

Todd. Ed..e. J. i. D. It was found that the maximum amount of rubber scrap that could be incorporated was 75% by weight for both polymers in the single screw extruder. and it was considered inadvisable to use this machine as partial decomposition of the rubber occurred. Comparisons were made with wood flour. Results showed minimal influence on tensile strength and notched impact for all four ingredients. A coupling agent was also incorporated. 270 T. Plastics Technology. 45. 1999. Similarly. References 1. with 30% wood flour/HDPE composites. The wood flour was significantly better at 10. 2. Compounds were prepared with a 25 mm single screw extruder for injection moulding into test pieces. . the coarser crushed glass had virtually no effect. for the production of PP and LDPE compounds containing commingled comminuted rubber crumb from scrap tyres. twin screw compounding and single screw extruder compounding of wood flour into polyvinylchloride. Hanser Publishers. Schut. Munich. 5) Kuan and co-workers [9] made comparisons using two roll milling. whilst glass fibres provided the highest increase at almost 55%. 6) A single screw extruder and a twin screw extruder were compared by Kowalska [10]. tensile strengths were 18% greater for a twin screw extruder than with a single screw machine.. The best mechanical properties were obtained with the twin screw extruder. A situation that often exists.1 Hoekstra and co-workers [8] compounded crushed glass into high-denisty polyethylene (HDPE) to evaluate whether it could be used as an alternative to glass fibres and glass spheres to increase tensile and flexural modulus of recycled HDPE used as ‘plastics lumber’. in part because of the former’s control of the mixing process.3%). 46.H. which may be particularly relevant to waste recycling.B. is that deficiencies may appear with larger continuously running production extruders which were not apparent in the laboratory. The crushed glass did not perform as well as other reinforcements commonly used. Chapter 2.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 3) Stasiek [7] found that a co-rotating twin screw extruder was more effective than a single screw machine for compounding a range of mineral fillers into polypropylene. whilst the finer glass increased stiffness by almost 5% (similar to calcium carbonate at 5. The maximum for the twin screw extruder was 30 wt%. 3. it avoided the compacting/agglomerating effect described in section 13. For flexural modulus. 1998. glass fibre and calcium carbonate. Black in Plastics Compounding: Equipment and Processing.4% increase. Germany.

Sepehr and J.R. Polimery. Fritz in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. C-C. E. 6. Plastics Rubber and Composites. D. J-M. F. 1. 3.Compounding with Single Screw Extruders 3.M.2709. Todd. Stasiek. 9. 8. 5. Volume 2. Wang. NY. 173. Paper No. 2002. Orlando. 2005. Li. Hoekstra. Ma and F-Y.P. 11-12. Utracki. 1.H. Sigl and H-G. D. 4. International Polymer Processing. 18.A. 271 . 7. Progress in Rubber Plastics and Recycling Technology. FL.578. 2006. Kuan. 1999. Dillman in Proceedings of the Annual SPE Conference – ANTEC. p. Pranckh. 3. 34. 32. Plastics Compounding and Extrusion. USA. New York. 2003. 10. 50. 6.B. 21. 19. 2000. M.L. 1998. Duffy and S. J. 881. Huang. 2000. [in Polish] N. 3. 122. 2. USA. L. Kowalska. K-P. Advances in Polymer Technology. H-C.

Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 272 .

Rapra Bulletin. They can be cut relatively easily but are rarely flat enough for immediate mounting. Biologists cutting paraffin wax sections are not faced with quite the same problem. glycerol fulfils all the requirements and has the added advantages of total miscibility 273 . time constraints dictated that disposable blades were used. Microscopy Notes 6 . which is reproduced in full here. Usually they form tight rolls which resist all attempts to brush them flat.Ivan James. 1971. they may concertina instead. Happily. 3. Although disposable plate glass and sharpenable steel blades are very good in the hands of experts. Shawbury. with very thin sections. Lack of flatness renders examination difficult. For this technique to be successfully applied to plastics it is necessary to replace the water with a liquid which boils above the softening points of most plastics and which has a high surface tension at these temperatures. Shrewsbury. 25. Corrugations in the sections are removed by floating them on the surface of water which is warm enough for the surface tension forces to stretch the sections until they are flat. great care must be taken with regards to both personal safety and prevention of damage to the very sharp cutting edge. 7. UK. 4. Add the further requirement that the liquid must not dissolve or attack plastics and the search seems daunting. Rapra Technology) Flattening Sections Satisfactory sections of thermoplastics may have any thickness between 3 µm and 20 µm depending on the material. p. or occasionally. Paraffin wax remains fairly flat during cutting and sections adhere one to another to form a long ribbon.85-87 (Reproduced with permission from Smithers Rapra. Whichever is used. 8 and 9 was a Slee (Reickert) sledge microtome.A ppendix – Preparation of Microtome Sections for Assessment of Dispersive and Distributive Mixing The instrument used to prepare microtomed sections reproduced as photmicrographs in Chapters 2. ©1971. The technique used was that described by James in Microscopy Notes 6. and the corresponding change of focus from one part of the field to another means that any photographs taken are of poor quality.

34 Pa. Physical Properties of Glycerol Density: 1. Figure 1 Section at rear of the block. at 150 °C: 5. they do not separate cleanly from the block but hinge back on a thin strip of material at the back edge (Figure 1). 274 .26 g/cm3 at 20 °C Boiling Point: 290 °C Surface Tension at 20 °C: 6. This can be overcome by trimming the rear of the block to a point so that there is then insufficient area for a hinge to form (Figure 2).19 Pa Glycerol is totally miscible with water and alcohol.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion with water and a density sufficiently high for many plastics to float in it without the aid of surface tension. Details of the method are set out next. Trimming the Block Although sections of soft thermoplastics such as polyethylene cut easily. Figure 2 Rear of the block trimmed to a point. Sections of any thermoplastic material can be unrolled on glycerol and the technique is also successful with some thermosets.

Contact zone. If this happens the section will not subsequently unroll at all but will instead collapse as a thick sandwich. The rolled part of the section can then be kept within the outline formed by the contact of the section with the glycerol (Figure 5). This can be avoided by trimming the forward part of the block as well. Figure 5 Rolled section on a pool of glycerol. This is by far the easiest section to deal with and it is recommended that blocks should be trimmed to this shape whenever possible. 275 . but a width of 4 mm and a length of 12 mm is probably adequate in most cases. so that it has a ‘tie’ shape (Figure 4). Dimensions are not critical. Another difficulty which can arise when a rolled section is placed on a pool of glycerol is that a drop of liquid bridges the gap between the first two turns (Figure 3).Preparation of Microtome Sections for Assessment of Dispersive and Distributive Mixing Figure 3 Drop of glycerol forming a seal Figure 4 Block trimmed to a ‘tie’ shape.

if desired. and then picked up with a sable brush and put down carefully so that the broadest part of the roll just touches the surface of a small pool of glycerol on a microscope slide. Initially the section will spring back into a roll. A section is placed in a shallow dish containing a small quantity of cold glycerol. Almost invariably it will be found that the section contains one or two small holes through which glycerol seeps. as is often the 276 . As the section warms an attempt should be made to unroll it using two sable brushes. sections from a particular block will not flatten. The dish is then put onto the hot plate. the microscope slide be warmed. but always collapse in a sandwich. it is pointless seeking an area free from them and another method of flattening must be used. but if the temperature is increased very slowly a point will be found where it can be brushed flat without sticking either to itself or to the brushes. Holey Sections Sometimes it happens that in spite of the care taken. The range of temperature over which this operation can be carried out is quite small and it is advisable not to attempt to heat the glycerol too quickly. In the case of a sample which is initially free from internal stresses warming on glycerol will completely remove the compression due to cutting and will restore the section to its original shape and size. Brushing Flat For this method a closer control of temperature is needed and it is advisable to use a hot plate rather than a Bunsen flame. the temperature of which should not initially exceed 100 °C. Rarely can a problem have been so efficiently solved by the simple application of physical principles. then as the thermoplastic softens the surface tension forces will pull the section down into the surface and render it completely flat. now. either on a hot plate set at a low temperature (say 150 °C) or above a low Bunsen flame. thus glueing the layers of the roll together. Once the section is nominally flat it can be transferred onto a pool of glycerol on a microscope slide and relaxed completely. Distortion The distortion of sections during cutting is familiar to all microtomists and is commonly referred to as ‘compression’.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Flattening the Rolled Sections Sections should be cut dry. Since the holes may indicate porosity and will almost certainly be relevant to the investigation in hand. If. If. The low temperatures involved are most easily achieved by wiring the hot plate to a ‘Reguplug’ simerstat control.

Thus chemical activity rather than refractive index may be the deciding factor in the selection of a mountant. Figure 6 Rotationally cast polyethylene showing incomplete mixing of black and natural phases.Preparation of Microtome Sections for Assessment of Dispersive and Distributive Mixing case.. but no attempt should be made to do this while the glycerol is hot. If a large number of sections is being examined then transfer to a second bath of water is desirable. however. the block has some frozen in stresses. In most cases this does not matter. with the result that the final section may not be the same shape as the original block. that many of the media used for biological mounting (e. It is probably worth pointing out. Once the slide has cooled down it should be dipped into a trough of water. then not only will the compression due to cutting be removed but the frozen in stresses also. but in those cases where it is important the brushing technique should be used. Washing and Mounting Glycerol is a poor mountant and is best removed from the sections. clove oil) will swell or dissolve certain thermoplastics. An interesting example of rotationally cast black polyethylene by this method is shown in Figure 6. The plastic sections will float on the water surface and the glycerol will disperse: the disappearance of the streamers which can be seen in the water is an adequate indication that the section is free of glycerol.g. 277 . At this stage the sections are quite robust and can be dried and mounted in a conventional medium without difficulty.

Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion 278 .

A ABS BS CA CBA CFC CRD CTM D EFM EPDM ET EVOH h HDPE HFC HIPS HMWPE HTPC L/D L/H LDPE LLDPE MDPE OD PA PA11 PA12 bbreviations Acrylonitrile-butadene-styrene British standards Cellulose acetate Chemical blowing agent(s) Chlorofluorocarbon(s) Chris Rauwendaal mixer Cavity transfer mixer(s) The distance along an extruder screw in terms of screw diameters Elongational flow mixer Ethylene-propylene diene terpolymer Energy transfer Ethylene vinyl alcohol Height High-density polyethylene Hydrofluorocarbon(s) High impact polystyrene High molecular weight polyethylene High temperature polycarbonate Length to diameter ratio Length to height ratio Low-density polyethylene Linear low-density polyethylene Medium density polyethylene Outer diameter Polyamide(s) Polyamide-11 Polyamide-12 279 .

Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion PA6 PBT PC PE PEEK PET PP PPO PPS PPVC PS PVC rpm RTD SAN SEM SMA STP TMR UL UV VHMWHPDE VHMWPE Polyamide-6 Polybutylterephthalate Polycarbonate Polyethylene(s) Polyether ether ketone Polyethylene terephthalate Polypropylene Polyphenylene oxide Polyphenylene sulfide Plasticised polyvinyl chloride Polystyrene Polyvinylchloride Revolutions per minute Residence time distribution Styrene-acrylonitrile Scanning electron microscopy Styrene-maleic anhydride Standard temperature and pressure Twente mixing ring Underwriters’ Laboratory Ultraviolet Very high molecular weight high-density polyethylene Very high molecular weight polyethylene 280 .

250. 75. 41. 129. 61-63. 211. 246. 243. 250. 255. 258. 208. 73. 54. 254. 247. 46 Agglomerate count 62 Agglomerate dispersion 24 Agglomerate formation 232. 19. 128. 116. 234 Agglomerate measurement 61 Agglomerates 14. 261. 235. 121-125.I A ndex A2-B2 mixer 44. 20. 233 North American 118 Blending 20 Blending. 239. 238. 229. 249 Crushing tests 27 281 . 23. 233. 24. 68. 107. 261 Brushing flat 276 C Compression melting zone 103 Couette flow 40. 230. 263 B Barmag key slot mixer 173 Barmag mixers 184 Barr energy transfer screws 126 Barr floating ring mixer 195 Barr multi-ring mixer 195 Barr ring mixer 194 Barrier flight melting screws 115 Barrier flight screws 127 Barrier screw 19. polymer 243. 17. 26.

147. 129 H Haake rheocord torque rheometer 250 Holey sections 276 Honeycomb packing 197 Hoppers. 95. 254. 99. 96. 196 Friction tester 97 G Gels 14. extensive 20 Extrusion foaming 220. round 80. 128. 92. 205. by brittle fracture 256 Dispersion theory 247 Double wave screw 125 E Electron microscopy 69 Erwin’s mixing model 43 Mixing. design 78 Hoppers. 221. 15. 256 Mixer. 103. 129. 94. 81 Hoppers. 263 Gels. 93. flow test 84. 206 Feed zone screw cooling 99 Fibre extrusion 213 Fibrils 252. square 81 282 . elimination of 262 Gerber mixers 171 Gravity conveying 234 Grooved feed zone 90. 223 F Feed conveying 91 Feed zone 87. 194. 85 Hoppers. 68. 100. 123. 130. floating ring 189. 31.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion D Dispersion. 261. 91.

233. 16.Index I Image analysis 61. cavity transfer 19. 75. 176. 244. 256 Model 49 Rotor 224 283 . incorporation of 204 Infrared spectroscopy 68 Injection moulding 5. 119 Melt conveying 120 Melt filled screw channel 137 Melt flow index tester 31 Melt pumping zone 103 Melting mechanism 101. 270 Check ring 190 Check ring cavity mixer 192 Check ring mixers 189 K Kenics mixer 198. 254 Liquid injection processes 208 M Maddock element screw 108 Maillefer barrier screw 117. 215. 168. 103. 62 Immiscible blends 244 Liquid additives. 102. 124 Mass flow hopper 78 Meillefer barrier screw 118. 248 Flow mixing 29 Flow models 243 Mixing 32. 107 Metal box key slot mixer 172 Miscible blends 244 Mixer. 189. 52. 35. 193. 75 Flow 247. 53. 199 L Lamina flow mixing 34 Laminar shear 39. 214. 54. 191. 191. 220.

rounded cavity 176 Mixer. masterbatch 11 Mixing. 269. elongational 20 Mixing. static 197. 59. 125. Stanley turbine 42 Mixer. 230. 239. 229. 20. 135. 150 Mixing. pineapple 160. 29. 25. 233 Mixer. mechanism 197 Mixing. elongational flow 269 Mixer. helical 197. Ross ISG 198 Mixer. 273 Mixing. 11. 21. elongational flow 261 Mixing. 67. interacting 167 Mixer. screw channel 135 Mixing. 199 Mixer. 196. 8. 17. Maddock 189 Mixing. 18. pin 189 Mixing. pin 170 Mixer. Maddock 148. 263. 29. 17. 24. 255 Mixer. 243.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Mixer. 13. 59. measurement 59 Mixing. 15. Couette type 256 Mixer. 20. radial static dispersive 262 Mixer. simple 20 N Non-mass flow hopper 79. 199 Mixer. 82 Nut-on-bolt model 87 284 . 32. 176. 15. 200. dispersive 5. honeycomb 198. check ring 193 Mixer. 167. 33. planetary gear 233 Mixer. degree of 33 Mixing. 262. 23. intensive 20 Mixing. 201 Mixing. 161. 197. 37. 246. Renk (barmag) 172 Mixer. 18. 54. 161. distributive 5. Stanley 168 Mixer. 6. pins 149. 273 Mixing effects 71 Mixing.

251 Screen pack extrusion test 63 Screen pack filtration test 62 Screw design 103. 219 Silicone lubricant injection 220 285 . 15. 203. 208 Silane grafting 218. 186 Residence time distribution 144. 185. 147 Retarded taylor dispersion 255 Rubber industry 171 S Scanning electron microscopy 250.Index O Optical microscopy 69 P Particulate friction measurements 96 Pellet handling 77 Plastics industry 128 Plug conveying 89 Plug flow conveying 234 Polymer industry 7 Polymer scrap 246 Polymer waste 246. melting 116 Shear heating 177 Shear-ring screw 127 Silage wrap film 14. 131 Screw. 146. 259 Polymerisation 244 Poppet valve liquid injector 206 Pumping zone 105 R Rectangular hoppers 81 Reifenhauser staromix 184.

234 Starved feeding 234. 135. 153. 29. 54. 19. 38. 250-252. 237. 147. 12. 25. 244 Three pump spectrum system 216 Torque rheometer 251 Turbine mixing heads 168. 254. 270 Twin screw extrusion 262 V Variable barrier energy transfer screw 126 W Woodroffe key slot mixers 171 286 . 35. 210. 261. 28. 20. 127 Striation formation 135 Striation thickness measurement 60. 99. 17. 223. 240. 60. 117 Solids conveying 87. 262. 182 T Taylor-like droplet dispersion 255 The scott and macosco mechanism 256 Thermoforming 243. 270 Mixing 23 Stages 71 Single screw extrusion 5. 256. 12. 24. 9. 169 Turbine system 43 Twente mixing ring 161 Twin screw 259 Twin screw extruder 8.Mixing in Single Screw Extrusion Single screw extruder 8. 61. 106. 89. 243. 261. 230. 121. 107. 239 Stratablend mixing screw 126. 257. 258 Solids bed break-up 105. 59. 88. 259. 254. 269.

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